The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or The Met, is the largest art museum in the country, measuring about a quarter-mile long. It contains more than 2 million works in its permanent collection spanning more than 5,000 years. It also has a rooftop garden that highlights special sculpture exhibits. Patrons can enjoy the artwork as well as a café and bar on the roof while taking in views of Central Park and the city skyline.
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Key Features of The Met
The Metropolitan Museum of Art entertains about 7 million visitors annually. It has an extensive collection of American and modern art, paintings and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, artwork from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt, antique weapons and armor, collections of musical instruments, and holdings of Asian, African, Oceanian, Islamic, and Byzantine art.
Among its pieces are Botticelli’s The Annunciation, Degas’s The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer, Matisse’s cut-out Icarus, Rembrandt’s oil-on-canvas self-portrait, Roy Lichtenstein’s painting Stepping Out, Jasper Johns’s painting White Flag, Alfred Stieglitz’s photograph of Georgia O’Keeffe, and Pablo Picasso’s painting of Gertrude Stein.
The Egyptian collection includes a limestone sculpture of the head of Tutankhamun, or King Tut, circa 1336 to 1327 B.C., and the Temple of Dendur. Displayed in the Sackler Wing, the temple has Central Park as a backdrop, thanks to a slanting floor-to-ceiling glass window.
The Met’s Costume Institute collects fashionable clothing and accessories for men and women from the late 1500s to the present, including a dress made of paper and rainbow-colored platform sandals. The museum has closed on the first Monday in May each year since 1948 for the Met Gala, also called the Met Ball or the Costume Institute Gala, a themed fundraiser for the museum that draws socialites, designers, models and celebrities.
History of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
1870: The New York State Legislature establishes “a museum and library of art” in the city, encouraging and developing the study of fine arts.
1871: The museum is granted the land between the East Park Drive, Fifth Avenue, and the 79th and 85th Street Transverse Roads through Central Park.
1872: The museum opens in its original location at 681 Fifth Avenue.
1873: The growing museum temporarily moves to the Douglas Mansion at 128 West 14th Street.
1874: The Met’s current beaux-arts facility opens.
1954: The Met begins its “concerts and lectures” program. It will feature performers such as Judy Collins, Nina Simon, Burl Ives and Yo-Yo Ma.
1972: The museum is added to the National Register of Historic Places.
1986: The museum is designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark.
Location & Tourism
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is located at 1000 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The museum is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and the first Monday in May. Admission is $25 for adults, $17 for seniors ages 65 and older, $12 for students ages 12 and up, and free for children under 12. Residents of New York State, New Jersey and Connecticut also can pay whatever admission price they choose with valid ID.
Interesting Facts About the Metropolitan Museum of Art
- The Temple of Dendur, dating back to 10 B.C., was a gift to the United States from Egypt. It was completely dismantled, transported by ship, and reassembled block by block inside the museum.
- The indoor Charles Engelhard Courtyard includes the front of the Branch Bank of the United States, a building once located on Wall Street and slated for demolition.
- The Astor Chinese Garden Court includes a pond with real carp.
- The largest painting in the museum is a 700-year-old mural of Buddha from about 1319 made of colored pigment, mud, packed earth and straw.
- A gilded iron choir screen from the Cathedral of Valladolid on display is 52 feet high by 42 feet wide.
- The museum’s informal mascot is a figurine of a standing hippopotamus made from Egyptian faience, a material made from powdered quartz. Its nickname is William.
Directions to Belluck & Fox from the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Belluck & Fox’s NYC office is located in Midtown at 546 Fifth Ave., 5th Floor, New York NY 10036. From the front of the museum, drive south for about 1.9 miles. Our NYC law office also is accessible via the M1 and M2 busses, which travel the same route.
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