New York – Guggenheim and Metropolitan Museum

Scrolls from Qing Dynasty

Scrolls from Qing Dynasty

Almost every time we visit my parents in law, my husband and I would take a day trip to New York City. The recent one was during our Christmas vacation more than a week ago. An easy one hour train ride took us from CT to Grand Central where the subway picked up till we reached uptown Manhattan. The destinations of the day were Guggenheim and Metropolitan Museum and we were lucky to have with us uncle Mat who is a talented artist. Uncle Mat gave us passes to both museums and walked through Guggenheim with us.

Guggenheim
We spent a couple of hours at Guggenheim. While there are some interesting and unusual exhibits, the most impressive is the building itself.

Guggenheim on Fifth Avenue and 89th Street

Guggenheim on Fifth Avenue and 89th Street


This Guggenheim museum was designed by the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright and completed in 1959 before he passed away. The adjoining rectangular tower was added to the museum in 1992.

Spiral ramp and center skylight

Spiral ramp and center skylight


Inspired by a nautilus shell, Frank Wright designed a helical ramp that gently spirals from the ground up along the windowless outer wall. Space by the wall was divided into niches. While most unusual exhibits are displayed on the niches or on the way of the ramp, the new museum tower hosts a fine permanent collection of impressionist paintings and other special exhibits. We took uncle Mat’s advice; we took the lift up and strolled our way down the easy ramp.

ARE WE EVIL?

ARE WE EVIL?


These were seen on the ground floor of the museum.

Who drowned Pinocchio?

Who drowned Pinocchio?

Through the glass window

Through the glass window


Some twin buildings located on the other side of Central Park were seen here through a glass wall at the museum.

Metropolitan Museum
Metropolitan Museum is also on Fifth Avenue, a few blocks south from Guggenheim, and we walked through Central Park from Guggenheim to Metropolitan. It was about 2pm the Saturday after Christmas and we found many other visitors there as well. It was very crowded in the great hall and the cafeteria but not too bad once we started going into the exhibit halls. The vast varieties of prominent collections at the museum were absolutely enticing. With breaks in between, we stayed at the museum till it was almost 9, time for the museum to close. It was impossible to see all but we enjoyed everything we saw.

We browsed through American Landscapes on wall sized frames from Robert Lehman Collection, extravagant European Decorative Art, beautiful European sculptures, the stirring Arms and Armor, not so dark Medieval Art and refreshing 19th- and Early 20th Century European Paintings.

Van Gogh’s self portrait

Van Gogh’s self portrait

John Sargent’s MadameX

John Sargent’s MadameX

Venus and a sphinx

Venus and a sphinx

Medieval stone altar canopy

Medieval stone altar canopy

What excited me the most though were the antiquities from Cypriot Art Collection, Ancient Near Eastern Art Collection, Byzantine Collection, Chinese Art Collection and Beyond Babylon (a special exhibit). Artifacts from thousands of years ago are exceedingly mystifying and awe inspiring.

Byzantine antiquities

Byzantine antiquities

Four thousand year old jewelries from Beyond Babylon

Four thousand year old jewelries from Beyond Babylon

4 thousand year old Cypriot crockery

4 thousand year old Cypriot crockery

Assyrian Reliefs

Assyrian Reliefs

Chinese crockery from 2nd or 3rd millennium BC

crockery from 2nd or 3rd millennium BC

Chinese copper wine vessels from 2nd millennium BC

Chinese copper wine vessels from 2nd millennium BC

To my extreme delight, there was a special exhibit at the Chinese Art, Wang Hui’s Scrolls, grand finale of our visit that day.

One of 12 Chinese scrolls

One of 12 Chinese scrolls


Wang Hui (1632-1717) was a celebrated Chinese painter in Qing Dynasty. He was commissioned by Emperor Kang Xi to document the emperor’s several ceremonious inspection tours. Wang Hui and his disciples created in 6 years a set of 12 vivid and beautiful scrolls with incredible details. All scrolls measured at 67.8cm but they vary in length from 1400 to 2600cm. Unfortunately not all of the 12 scrolls have survived. 1st, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th scrolls are exhibited at the Imperial Palace museum, Beijing, China while 2nd and 4th are displayed at Museum Guimet, Paris, France and Metropolitan museum has the 3rd and 7th.

Zhou Zhuang

Zhou Zhuang


This tableau portraits the Emperor arriving by boat at the distinctive water town named Zhou Zhuang, which still exists today and is known to some as the Venice of the East in present days.

China’s renowned Mount Tai

China’s renowned Mount Tai

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