Friday, December 30, 2011

Greek & Roman Galleries at the Met

Friends visiting from out of town recently meant a welcome trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art last week which was seen through new eyes. On our list of things to see was the Neapolitan Tree as well as the exhibit on Duncan Phyfe. 

We entered through the school group entrance which is located at the Southern end of the building on 5th Avenue. It's never crowded since most people don't know it's even there. You can check your coat and bag without waiting in line and then step into the elevator which takes you straight up to the Greek and Roman galleries.

And my god, what a wonder they are. I never tire of visiting them. They opened to the public in 2007 after a lengthy period of restoration. Before that, the main wing was used as a cafeteria, which, at one time, had been decorated by Dorothy Draper. The same space was originally a pool surrounded by statuary, so you might say the space has come full circle in a hundred years. It's a gorgeous atrium now with inlaid marble floors and resplendent cultural riches. 

I almost called this post 'Men at the Met' since the majority of photographs are of men, but goddesses do make their appearance.

The rare bronze below was once thought to match to a head in a museum in Berlin, but this assertion has been recently disproven. Here you can see the inlaid floor where a pool once was and the open atrium setting above. It's a glorious space. 

Another goddess which somehow seems very deco to my eyes. Of course, it's interesting to know that most of the white marble statuary was polychromed in appearance- a very different aesthetic. 

The inscription on this sarcophagus notes that it was owned by the Duke of Beaufort at Badminton - a country house in Gloucestershire, England. Residing on the Duke's pedestal of slabs of grey and white marble with black marble spheres, it presents death as a very sensuous affair. 

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