Always feels good to crib a cribbed Beastie line
I had to say this somewhere, because I just got back from the city after floor camping at my best friend's place in Brooklyn for like 2 weeks: I am so jealous of you guys who can just hop on that Subway and catch the Met whenever you want to.
I think I could live on the first floor of that place for the rest of my life and probably never get bored. They had ancient statuary and amphora, suites of armor, facsimiles of wall paintings etc. that I had stared at in monographs and folios, black and white reproductions and the like, back when I was in school, and that I thought I'd never actually see in my lifetime. And they were all on display right there in the open, so close you could reach out and touch them. Just rooms and rooms full of the stuff. It was easily the most breathtaking collection I've ever seen under a single roof. I'm serious man, I started getting really emotional just walking around, looking at people sketching and observing, everyone with these huge smiles, or looks of intense concentration, or just wide eyed amazement. And then I took the elevator to the second floor.
I don't know how to describe it. I just started weeping, it was so fucking beautiful. Gustave's Sphinx, which I've seen a thousand times before, but had never actually 'seen', and certainly I had never realized it was that large. It takes on a completely new meaning after you see the sphinxes on the first floor. The Courbets, Boldinis, and Sargents, everything in the European painting wing. The Tiepolo room, Cloisters so glorious -all the Flemish paintings, the Vermeers, the Rembrandts (oh the Rembrandts ! ... I thought you had to go to the low countries for that!) Durer prints, MB's studies for the Sibyl. It was just the most amazing home run museum experience I could have possible hoped for. I did a 3 day mission this time, but I'm sure I could have easily done that to a power of 10 and still not seen it all. Plus the medieval Pen and Ink room, and the Musical Instruments gallery were closed for reinstallation. It was a killer time though.
So if you live in the city, and you're not drawing right now, and you're bored… what the fuck's your excuse?
Because I live like 2000 miles away - and you can be damn sure, if I could hop on that L train again, drop $5 in a box, and take a trip to back ancient Egypt again, that's how I'd be spending my afternoon. The Neue was pretty cool too, but I was bummed that Alfred Kubin had already moved on. I was really hoping to check out the drawings. Did get to by a book and some postcards though.
One last thing. Of all the paintings I saw at the Met, Fillipino Lippi's Madonna had the greatest impact on me. I’m not sure why, but I just couldn't pull away from her. I stared at it for like 40 minutes. If anyone has a larger/cleaner copy of the image, by all means repost. I will love you for it.