What We Saw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met is an all-day affair. Too much to tell, so here are a few highlights of our recent visit.

As a fan of Renaissance art, I reveled in this show, mounted in the pleasant Lehman Wing. Pollaiuolo’s study for the Sforza monument — once owned by Giorgio Vasari — intrigued me, with its pricked holes for transferring the design to another surface.

Antonio Pollaiuolo, (Florence c.1432–1498 Rome), Study for Monument to Francesco Sforza (c.1485). Pen & brown ink, brown wash, outlines pricked for transfer.
Albrecht Durer (Nuremberg 1471–1528, Nuremberg). Self-Portrait, Study of a Hand, and a Pillow, 1492

Albrecht Durer’s preparatory drawing of his 22-year-old self was highly unusual at the time, considered to be one of the earliest independent self-portraits in Western art. This piece is an example of artists’ careful use of scarce paper in those times, with numerous additional studies of a pillow on the reverse.

The drawings represented draughtsmanship spanning four centuries, and among the 19th-century works that captured my fancy was a Seurat illustration for the French journal La Vie Moderne. I was intrigued by the way he layered dots to achieve varied tonal intensity and to render weight and volume.

Paul Signac, (Paris 1863–1935, Paris), The Dining Room, 1886–87

This was a lovely exhibit, with this watercolor standing out as my “favorite.”

Irving Ramsey Wiles, 1861–1948. The Green Cushion, ca. 1895. Watercolor, graphite and gouache on paper

We ended out day at the Met on the roof, strolling through Adrián Villar Rojas’ site-specific installation, The Theater of Disappearance.

Rojas integrated many aspects of the Met’s history and collections into his installation by creating a fantastical event in which white tables are punctuated by black sculptures, all coated in a layer of dust. I would have liked some signage to explain the components that I didn’t recognize; but it was an engaging setting for meeting friends for a drink, and — oh by the way — enjoying the panoramic city views.

I am an art geek, writing about art, exhibitions and museums. Discover more than 1600 art museums, artist studios, historic houses and gardens across the US.

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