Metropolitan Museum of Art: Manhattan's Iconic Artistic Center

The Met New York


There are many museums in New York City, but only one Met. The Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC is the hub of the global art scene for today’s artists. It’s a place where established artists define their careers and emerging artists hang their dreams. For the Manhattan visitors, the Met is the apex of cultural sightseeing and a can’t-miss stop for the cultivated globetrotter.

World-Renowned Collection of Art Within Walking Distance

The Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC is only a 12-minute drive from one of the best Upper West Side hotels, The Wallace. However, a short, half-hour walk will take you along the Reservoir in Central Park, where you can see the iconic NYC skyline reflected in the 106-acre lake.

Once you arrive at the Met, you’ll encounter two million square feet of galleries representing 5,000 years of artistic achievement. The Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC has collected more than 1.5 million works of art since it opened its doors in 1872. There are, of course, must-see highlights.

Notable Art at the Met

It’s difficult to pick a favorite among the thirty thousand works of Greek and Roman Art in the museum’s collection. However, the marble statue of a kouros stands out. Located in Gallery 154, the statue represents a feat of ancient engineering. Dating from the sixth century BCE, the life-sized marble statue balances a metric ton of weight on legs that stand nearly straight.

Art dating from the Gilded Age represents a time when the newly wealthy of the United States emulated European culture and style. The Met has a collection of portraits “in the grand manner” that reflect this sensibility. The most notable of which is John Singer Sargeant’s Mr. and Mrs. I.N. Phelps Stokes.

This painting demonstrates why Sargeant achieved remarkable success as a portrait artist in his lifetime. It was originally commissioned to be a portrait of Mrs. Stokes with her Great Dane. However, the dog became “unavailable.” Mr. Stokes volunteered to stand in, and the result is an accidental emblem of the spirit of American women.

Don’t be fooled by the Met’s focus on historical artwork. The Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC is an important leader in the recognition of contemporary artists. Its collection of modern and contemporary art includes works by Adam McEwen, Terry Winters, and Jules Olitski. The Met also invites current masters to create original exhibitions throughout the year.

Iconic Works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC houses artwork by artists so monumental that their influence echoes throughout popular culture. However, seeing famous artwork depicted in movies doesn’t compare to the palpable experience of viewing it within the carefully considered galleries of the MET.

One such work is Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) by Jackson Pollack. Viewers are dwarfed and not just by the immensity of the eight-foot-tall canvas that spans 17 feet along the wall of Gallery 919. The seemingly chaotic drips of Jackson’s brush come together in a lyrical and harmonious web that takes the viewer’s eyes deeper into the canvas. Jackson famously said, “Painting is self-discovery,” and so is viewing Autumn Rhythm (Number 30).

Another iconic work is Vincent Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat. The artist’s intense eyes are encircled by fierce yet controlled brushstrokes. The incompatibility of analogous hues of gold, brown, and pink with the emotional force of the subject’s expression speaks to Van Gogh’s genius and continued popularity.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC is also home to Pablo Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude Stein. Here, viewers get a glimpse of not one, but two, icons of artistic culture. Both members of the famous community of American expats in Paris in the 1920s, Picasso and Stein, along with their contemporaries, ushered in Modernism.

The simple lines and pronounced shadowing of Picasso’s Gertrude Stein prefigures his evolution into Cubism. Stein’s forward-leaning posture and penetrating gaze symbolize her forward-thinking and adept appraisal of emerging art.

Events at the Met

Art lovers never need a special reason to visit, although the Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC offers several irresistible events throughout the year. Of course, the most famous event is the Met Gala.

Hailed as the biggest night in fashion, this annual fundraiser takes place on the first Monday in May. Celebrities, billionaires, and top fashion designers descend upon Manhattan for an evening of glamour and pomp. In addition to the exclusive Met Gala, the Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC hosts a variety of events throughout the week, an updated list of which can be found on the Met’s website

A notable and recurring event is Date Night at the Met. Every Friday and Saturday, visitors can enjoy live music and drink specials with their museum admission. Other Met events include expert talks, workshops, and open studio sessions.  

Get Inspired at the Met

The vast collection at the Met includes works by brilliant artists, such as Vermeer, Rembrandt, Monet, and more. The Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC houses the definitive collection of noteworthy art from antiquity to the present day, making it one of the most visited art museums in the world. You can be within walking distance of this ultimate NYC cultural experience when you stay at The Wallace.