Monday, April 14, 2008

The Metropolitan Museum

- I have to have a post on the Met. Since I was traveling with Gloria, my best friend and retired art teacher, the Met was a non-negotiable!!! Gloria has been teaching from the Met for years!! If it were up to her, we would have stayed the entire day. This day was the day for Gloria and Suzanne (Chinatown was my day:). Here's how I had the day planned. We would be at the Met by opening time (9:30). We had reservations for lunch at Tavern on the Green at 1:00. My plan was to walk through the park to the Tavern. Afterwards we would have a carriage ride through Central Park, then walk back to the Edison via 5th and Madison Ave - the 'big' shops (this part was for Suzanne who is not so much a bargain shopper!)

Well, this is how it happened. We got a late start. After a late breakfast, we were at the Met (via subway) by 10:30. We went through the Egyptian exhibit and had to leave for the lunch date. When we left the Tavern, there was a carriage right outside!!! We took his ride, then caught a taxi back to the Met (it was about 40 degrees!!) We stayed at the Met for another 2-3 hours, seeing the costume exhibit and the masters art. We then caught a taxi back to the hotel to get ready for dinner and Legally Blonde. Needless to say, contrary to what I had been informed by a friend who has an apartment in NYC, the Met is NOT walking distance to the Edison!

Here are some of the highlights (my opinion):

Here we are just after our ride!

This is "the Nail Man"

Van Gogh - my favorite! I just love his colors! It was so incredible

to be able to see the brush strokes!!!

Can't leave out Monet! - breathtaking!!

"Seurat's Grande Jatte is one of those rare works of art that stand alone; its transcendence is instinctively recognized by everyone. What makes this transcendence so mysterious is that the theme of the work is not some profound emotion or momentous event, but the most banal of workaday scenes: Parisians enjoying an afternoon in a local park. Yet we never seem to fathom its elusive power. Stranger still, when he painted it, Seurat was a mere 25 (with only seven more years to live), a young man with a scientific theory to prove; this is hardly the recipe for success. His theory was optical: the conviction that painting in dots, known as pointillism or divisionism, would produce a brighter color than painting in strokes.
"Seurat spent two years painting this picture, concentrating painstakingly on the landscape of the park before focusing on the people; always their shapes, never their personalities. Individuals did not interest him, only their formal elegance. There is no untidiness in Seurat; all is beautifully balanced. The park was quite a noisy place: a man blows his bugle, children run around, there are dogs. Yet the impression we receive is of silence, of control, of nothing disordered. I think it is this that makes La Grande Jatte so moving to us who live in such a disordered world: Seurat's control. There is an intellectual clarity here that sets him free to paint this small park with an astonishing poetry. Even if the people in the park are pairs or groups, they still seem alone in their concision of form - alone but not lonely. No figure encroaches on another's space: all coexist in peace.
"This is a world both real and unreal - a sacred world. We are often harried by life's pressures and its speed, and many of us think at times: Stop the world, I want to get off! In this painting, Seurat has "stopped the world," and it reveals itself as beautiful, sunlit, and silent - it is Seurat's world, from which we would never want to get off."

This is a close up of the pointillism!

To broaden my horizons, I have to put this one in. I was very impressed with this painting by Karl-Heinrich Lehmann 1814-1882. I was not familiar with him but I couldn't pass this one! It looked so much like a photograph!

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