METROPOLITAN MUSEUM

METROPOLITAN MUSEUM

Fashion Collection at the Met

Fashion Collection at the Met

Can you really see New York in three days? We sure tried, we wanted to give Lana, our guest, the grand tour. In an email quote from her today. She said, “And my visit with you is still a highlight, despite the speed, as u say.”

Metropolitan Fashion collection

Metropolitan Fashion collection

I hoped we would get to at least two museums on Friday, the 5th, but alas, after only one, we were ready for the heap. Have you been to the Metropolitan lately? Egad, it’s a few cities in one building. It’s a place to get your fill of the innovative and of antiquity. The rooftop is amazing. If you don’t go anywhere else in this building, you must visit the rooftop. The glass-like structure, a 2-way mirror was fun, like the fun-house mirrors in a carnival.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Rooftop glass garden exhibit until Nov. 2nd

Rooftop glass 2-way mirror garden exhibit until Nov. 2nd

Glass structure

Glass structure

There is an app for the Met, so you can plan your visit, but since I claim naivety in the app realm, we visited the Met without a plan.  At one time, I was familiar with the museum. I thought there would be no problem. I was sorely mistaken. The museum app starts with a lovely, clean design that begs to be explored. It doesn’t open on a home screen, but takes you immediately to its featured exhibitions, listing those that will end soonest at the top and exhorting you to “catch them while you can.” Clicking onto each exhibit’s page provides a nice description of the work being shown, while other sections of the app showcase both masterpieces and oddities in the museum’s extensive collection. These tabs are expertly curated, and echo the Met’s larger social media strategy, which feels surprisingly current for an institution filled with antiquities.

Entry into Temple Dendoor

Entry into Temple Dendoor

I was overwhelmed. But after a brief deep breath, I said, “Follow me.” I led Lana, and hubby Tom to the newest exhibition. The Temple of Dendur (Dendoor in nineteenth century sources) is an Egyptian temple that was built by the Roman governor of Egypt, Petronius, around 15 BC and dedicated to Isis, Osiris, as well as two deified sons of a local Nubian chieftain, Pediese (“he whom Isis has given”) and Pihor (“he who belongs to Horus“). The temple was commissioned by Emperor Augustus of Rome and has been exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York since 1978. If you haven’t seen this, it’s worth the trip, you get to walk through a real Egyptian temple. Those folks were really small, the door openings are quite narrow.

Central Park

Central Park

Lunch in the Member’s dining room, was the delight of the day, a lovely quiet space overlooking Central Park. Best place in the museum to dine. Next stop was to see the paintings, as much as we had the energy to see. 15-17th century, 18th century Impressionism, 19th century Hudson River, it was endless. To get to each exhibit, we walked miles and miles and miles. The museum is ten cities in one.

Monet

Monet

We had lots to see, so we ran, didn’t walk, over to the American Wing, since this was Lana’s first visit to America. Make sense? We whizzed through, which was frustrating for me since furniture and the decorative arts is part of my soul. But most important, I showed Lana and Tom (who bless his heart, chauffeured us into and out of the city) the Herter Brothers furniture that once graced the rooms at Lockwood, the very same company that decorated the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion in 1867. I had to show Lana Lockwood, although we didn’t get there until Monday on the way to the airport.  Where else would she get her very own private tour of an American National historic landmark built in 1867.

What is your favorite at the Metropolitan Museum?

Albert Bierstadt part of an American Indian painting

Albert Bierstadt part of an American Indian painting in the West.

LOUIS XVI & HIS LASS

LOUIS XVI & HIS LASS

Hiding in her room, she shivered knowing she was soon to be convicted of thievery. A crime by the government of France against the people of France.

Marie Antoinette 1783 Portrait

Is the crime one of this regime, Louis XVI and his Lass, or is it a crime of near bankruptcy through the opulence of their predecessors, Louis XIV and Louis XV? The crime of taking the taxes of the people to buy the latest fashions and furnishings for the kings and queens of France. Louis and Marie were young and foolish, he fifteen, she fourteen when they married.

Louis XVI Portrait

After donning the crown in 1774, they built monuments to themselves, imported porcelain, had fabrics woven to their specifications, cabinetry designed and created by the high paid Ebénisters (high-grade cabinet makers). The economy spiraled downward (unemployment in Paris in 1788 is estimated at 50%), crops failed, the price of bread and other food soared. The people were not happy. To top it off, Louis had the misfortune to marry a foreigner, the Austrian Marie Antoinette. The anger of the French people, fueled by xenophobia, targeted Marie as a prime source of their problems. Le Petit Trianon at Versailles was fashioned and furnished for Marie, Louis’ Lass, in the Neoclassical style.

Neoclassical - end of Rococo's curves of the past

A style eliminating the curves of the past. You can identify a Louis XVI chair easily by the typical chair leg. It is straight with fluting and rosette in a square on the top corner of the leg. Although these chairs pictured here, are dark, furniture of the period is often painted white, and upholstered in needlepoint, silk, damask, and velvet upholstery.

Occasionally chair backs have wood carvings of various motifs   like garlands and ribbons.

This furniture took the skill of many talented Ebénisters. Costs were high. The money used did not belong to royalty. Louis and his lass lost their heads for robbing the people.

If you want to buy a chair in this style, would you know what to look for? Can you identify the rosette in the square on the top of the leg?

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