The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

Torso of a High General

Torso of a High General

I wrote a blog article recently knocking the content at the Getty Centre in Los Angeles but praising the building.  I failed to mention that I had earlier visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Blimey Mrs. It’s a corker!

The Metropolitan has art from all over the world. I’d seen some of the types before but what I found completely stunning was the quality of the pieces. It seemed that if there was only one perfect example still in existence of a type of art from somewhere in the world then the Metropolitan would have it and all beautifully displayed and perfectly lit.

I was stuck by one piece in particular. This was a damaged statue with the title Torso of a High General from 4th Century Egypt. The piece is of a young man but the torso has sheered away revealing the raw sandstone. It occurred to me that, for people who had not seen carving of this quality before, it must have seemed miraculous. Sandstone in it’s raw state is uneven and quite obviously inanimate. Yet in the hands of a craftsman it takes on the appearance of a man. Even the damaged example had  all the strength and vibrancy of a living body even after 2000 years!

If there is one museum you visit in New York then it should be the Metro.

Marble Head of a Woman, 1st Century Rome

Marble Head of a Woman, 1st Century Rome

Marble Head of Athena, Rome, AD 138-92

Marble Head of Athena, Rome, AD 138-92

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Sea Bear Head, Haida, British Colombia, 19th Century

Sea Bear Head, Haida, British Colombia, 19th Century

Forehead Mask, British Colombia or Alaska, 1840

Forehead Mask, British Colombia or Alaska, 1840

Smiling Figure, Mexico, Remojadas, 7th-8th Century

Smiling Figure, Mexico, Remojadas, 7th-8th Century

Female Mask (Gabanda), Democratic Republic of Congo, Pende Peoples, 19th-20th Century

Female Mask (Gabanda), Democratic Republic of Congo, Pende Peoples, 19th-20th Century

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