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I had to say this somewhere, because I just got back from the city after floor camping at my best friend's place in Brooklyn for like 2 weeks: I am so jealous of you guys who can just hop on that Subway and catch the Met whenever you want to.
I think I could live on the first floor of that place for the rest of my life and probably never get bored. They had ancient statuary and amphora, suites of armor, facsimiles of wall paintings etc. that I had stared at in monographs and folios, black and white reproductions and the like, back when I was in school, and that I thought I'd never actually see in my lifetime. And they were all on display right there in the open, so close you could reach out and touch them. Just rooms and rooms full of the stuff. It was easily the most breathtaking collection I've ever seen under a single roof. I'm serious man, I started getting really emotional just walking around, looking at people sketching and observing, everyone with these huge smiles, or looks of intense concentration, or just wide eyed amazement. And then I took the elevator to the second floor.
I don't know how to describe it. I just started weeping, it was so fucking beautiful. Gustave's Sphinx, which I've seen a thousand times before, but had never actually 'seen', and certainly I had never realized it was that large. It takes on a completely new meaning after you see the sphinxes on the first floor. The Courbets, Boldinis, and Sargents, everything in the European painting wing. The Tiepolo room, Cloisters so glorious -all the Flemish paintings, the Vermeers, the Rembrandts (oh the Rembrandts ! ... I thought you had to go to the low countries for that!) Durer prints, MB's studies for the Sibyl. It was just the most amazing home run museum experience I could have possible hoped for. I did a 3 day mission this time, but I'm sure I could have easily done that to a power of 10 and still not seen it all. Plus the medieval Pen and Ink room, and the Musical Instruments gallery were closed for reinstallation. It was a killer time though.
So if you live in the city, and you're not drawing right now, and you're bored… what the fuck's your excuse?
Because I live like 2000 miles away - and you can be damn sure, if I could hop on that L train again, drop $5 in a box, and take a trip to back ancient Egypt again, that's how I'd be spending my afternoon. The Neue was pretty cool too, but I was bummed that Alfred Kubin had already moved on. I was really hoping to check out the drawings. Did get to by a book and some postcards though.
One last thing. Of all the paintings I saw at the Met, Fillipino Lippi's Madonna had the greatest impact on me. I’m not sure why, but I just couldn't pull away from her. I stared at it for like 40 minutes. If anyone has a larger/cleaner copy of the image, by all means repost. I will love you for it.
Last edited by Jasonwclark; May 29th, 2009 at 12:27 AM. Reason: spelling
I moved to CT from Maine to go to art school. My first experience with the Met was a school trip, and it was amazing. I was maybe still too young and inexperienced to fully comprehend the magnitude of amazing it was, but I easily spent 4-5 hours in there. The trip was a yearly thing, so I got to go with a bus load of other artists several more times, and it was always great, and each time I saw and understood more. Great paintings have so much more depth of color and can be far more subtle than you'll ever see in print.
A couple years later I went there again, but this time it was a trip with mostly non artists. This was a school trip arranged by my girlfriend's school, just a regular state college. What a different experience. College kids walking around not giving a shit about any of it. Since it was known amongst my girlfriend's friends that I was an artist, I had a ton of questions to field. Some of it was art history stuff (not my strongest point, but I had a lot of different information to offer than the art history majors that went). Some of it was more artistic and technical. I remember a few students looking at a large painting of a nude man. They were trying to figure out why the artist painted some parts of the body very red. They had some interesting "what is the artist trying to say" theories, until I told them it was much simpler. Those parts of the body ARE much redder. People are not one color over their entire body, and places where the skin tends to be thinner more blood vessels show through making the skin very red. It made me wonder how many of them had seen a naked body with the lights on, that wasn't in a magazine where everyone was tanned all over and airbrushed.
If you (or anyone) is in New York again make sure you visit the Society of Illustrators too. One the the coolest things I saw there was one of James Gurney's large Dinotopia paintings. As we all know, that man can paint, and in person it's even more impressive.