Saturday, December 28, 2013

John Does the MET (Again)

Sunday night (Dec 22), Mark suggested that I go to the MET the next day.  So I did.
The next day, I navigated the busses and the metro-line and got to the MET (after getting a little turned around and walking past the Guggenheim) around 10:15.  

Visiting the MET is like visiting old friends, and I wish that I could go with Mark or someone, but it is nice to be able to just go into whatever gallery you wish.  This time around I visited (surprise!) the Egyptian Gallery, Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim,  the Islamic wing, and the Ancient Near Eastern Wing.  

Egyptian Wing

 I took photos of my crown, and Queen Hatshepsut in the Egyptian Wing. 
 I took a moment to sketch a scarab.  I wanted to see how the legs worked on this particular one (from a monument to Rameses), especially the middle legs.  I got the thorax a little too long, but otherwise I thought my drawing worked.

For fun, I like to visit the artifact wings behind the main displays.  The royal stuff is nice, but it's interesting to see how many common tools (and charms) there are and how the craftsmanship changes over the centuries.  My favorite out-of-the-way artifact were the men presenting shrines--there was a nurturing masculine feel to some of them, and I appreciate the skill that went into carving manly arms.

The Temple of Dendura was a mob scene by 11AM, so I looked from a distance.  

Medieval Wing

The Neapolitan Christmas Tree was up.  I would have taken pictures of the spotlit angels, but I didn't have a tripod.  I always have difficulties photographing things in the medieval wing because of the dim lighting, but I managed to get some Gospel Animals (the Bull and the Lion) and an over-the-top baptismal font.  I also managed to get details on some angel wing feathers to study for future paper cut-out designs.

Next visit, I want to spend more time in the Medieval and Renaissance Wings; I like the miniatures and wish there were more artifacts that weren't a Madonna and Child or martyrdom -- I like the animalistic firedogs, faucets, candlesticks and door handles.  I briefly visited the masterpiece locks and chests, and took a moment to appreciate the pocket sundials.  

American Wing

I'd thought I might have a snack here, but the snack bar and the sculpture garden was mobbed, which reduced the appeal of both the snacks the statues.  

 I finally managed to get a good shot of the Tiffany tile work.  What I like about this is how the tiles manage to make the a interweaving knot pattern with squares and circles.  It looks like a film strip turning around on itself.  The squares making up the edge artfully turn into wedges in order to let the filmstrips loop into circles.

I walked by the decorative arts and said hello to the Viking Punchbowl, the Silver Triton Boat, and the Bunnies! Fondu Pot.  Near these was a trophy with a peacock-feathers-and-squares motif running along the top:  I took a detail of this to study because I've always had difficulty designing peacock feathers.  Some time when the museum is calmer, I'd like to come back and photograph more.

Islamic Art & Ancient Near East

In the Islamic Wing (new to me), I managed to see some Zellij work up close, which let me appreciate the intricate arabesque work within some of the tiles more.  And there's something to be said also for being able to see larger works from far away (some really do work a lot better far away than up close).  Garish large tiles up close blend to something pleasant when far away.  While I enjoyed the knot-works very much, my favorite display was a receiving room which had many designs done with mostly square tiles -- many variations using eight- and twelve-fold symmetry.   

I found another crown, which I would wear in a New York Second.  I particularly like the dangling pendant work.

The Islamic Wing is next to the Ancient Near East Wing, so I visited The Elamite Cow and the Sun Cart and other artifacts from Anatolia.  Once again I got blurry photos of the Assyrian Guardian.  

On the down side, Christmas week is not exactly the best time to visit the MET and have the galleries to yourself.  The main hall filled up quickly, and the shopping was a bit frantic.  I got some gifts for others and three books for myself:  one on the Unicorn Tapestry, one on Islamic Design and Culture, and one on the Jewels of the Romanovs.  The first two the Eugene Library has, and I wanted my own copy.  The last one reminded me of Mark, and I got it with him in mind.

I thought about hanging out until the museum closed, but I had pretty much filled up my camera and I did't want to go through the subway system and Port Authority Bus Terminal in the Five O'clock Hour, so I left shortly after four.  My travel kung-fu was at an ebb this visit; not only did I get turned around and wind up at the Guggenheim coming in, I missed the closer subway entrance on Lexington, and ended up walking a little farther than I wanted.   But still, I managed to haul my catch successfully to the the Port Authority Bus Terminal and eventually to Suffern.

More photos are here:
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