Monday, January 26, 2009

Art Smart

In order to escape the sense of impending doom that has been building up in our house over the past two weeks ( read the post below this one if you need the details), Noe and I decided to take a breather and head in to New York City on Saturday afternoon. It was a little bittersweet in the sense that it was the last time we'll get to take advantage of Noe's free museum admission perk, but at the same time it was great to get the hell out of town, even for a day.

Noe and I have gone to New York City eight or nine times since we moved to CT. The first time we went (with Joe N.) we took Noe up to the top of the Empire State Building and to the Statue of Liberty because he had never been to New York. The second time - only a month later - was at my insistence because I simply could not handle the fact that a giant Christmas tree was sitting two and a half hours away from me at Rockefeller Center and I might not get to see it.

Mostly, though, we go to museums. This might sound boring to some, but Noe and I love museums and New York City has some of the best. We've visited "the big three" - the MoMA, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Met - multiple times, sometimes for special exhibits; sometimes just to see things we may have missed on the last visit. For our last admission as corporate members, we chose to revisit our favorite, the Met.

When it comes to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I just don't know where to begin. The first time we went (in the fall) we headed immediately for the Egyptian wing and the Temple of Dendur. Maybe I read The Egypt Game too many times as a kid, but I knew that I had to see this collection. I was not disappointed in the least. From the small ornaments and figurines to the hieroglyphic scrolls; from the ornately decorated tombs to the reconstructed temple itself, Noe and I were completely entranced. We spent half our first visit in this wing alone.

Temple of Dendur

The Egyptians liked their cats as much as I like mine.

Almost better than the Egyptian wing (almost) is are Greek and Roman galleries. I love looking at the old pottery, the urns (some with extremely racy scenes depicted) and most of all, the statuary. It's these objects that for whatever reason really click in my mind as being old. The fact that you can stand two inches away from something that was sculpted or crafted in dates that end with "B.C." resonates with me. The statues are my favorites; I love to picture how these must have appeared when they were first unveiled, not missing any appendages or facial features.

If you are inclined to giggle at naked statues,
the Met may not be the place for you.

"See Noe? This guy has no face."

This visit, however, we mainly wandered amidst the Asian art objects and the various paintings. The Asian collections contains some beautiful scrolls and prints, including the "36 Views of Mount Fuji" series by Katsushika Hokusai, which contains the fairly famous The Great Wave off Kanagawa (below).

I love this print.

The Met has a great number of paintings (duh, it is an ART museum) and Noe and I made it a point to check out more of those this time. Last time we were fresh off a visit from the MoMA, so we skipped the Modern Art wings all together. This time, however, we were rewarded for our efforts with numerous Picassos and Dalis. We also checked out a ton of van Gogh and an impressive Georgia O'Keefe selection (unfortunately, we did not remember the camera until we were already in the van Goghs).

You need to get up close and personal with a van Gogh
to understand how much paint is actually on this canvas.

Yet as cultured and sophisticated as Noe and I appear to be, we are not above laughing at great works of art. One particular painting in the European wing caused us to dissolve into giggles to the confusion of the people around us:

Sacrilegious as it may seem, Noe and cracked up the second we saw this painting of St. Michael and St. Francis (being Catholic, we recognized Francis immediately - he gets a lot of love from the painting and statue world). We're not sure why St. Francis was painted with such an "ooh, big deal" expression, but that's how we interpret this painting. The imaginary conversation goes something like this:

St. Michael: Hey Francis, check this out!

St. Francis: Ooh, you killed a dragon. Whoop-de-freakin'-do.

All in all, a Saturday spent at the Met was a great way to unwind from the week. The stop at the Grand Central Market before the train ride back never hurts either, especially when I get to collect an assortment of cheeses from Murray's or prosciutto and salami from the meat counters. And no Grand Central stop is complete without picking up a Junior's cheesecake, but that's another post in itself...

Noe took a picture of me buying $30 worth of cheese at Murray's.


Alison said...

That painting is hilarious! Sort of like the B.C. version of "talk to the hand..."

Amy W. said...

I know! It just cracks me up - Noe too. We were giggling like elementary school kids were giggling at the naked statues. People were probably like "what is WRONG with you?"