The Met, Take 3

Van Gogh - Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met)

With time starting to run out in our New York trip, we visited the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art) for the third time because there was still a huge amount we had not seen.

Van Gogh - Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met)

These first two images are of paintings by a Dutch artist from the nineteenth century called Vincent van Gogh.  You may perhaps have heard of him.


This image and the two following show sculptures by the Asmat people of south-western New Guinea.


This is the carved prow of a canoe and the canoe behind it.  The canoe is nearly fifty feet long and capable of carrying twenty people, who stand up in it to paddle with the oars that you see.  The seated figure in the prow is the deceased sister Banditis of the head carver Chinasapitch and the prone figure represents a young man who had recently been killed by men from another village.


This is a double figure from Kamor village, mid-twentieth century.


Crossing the Pacific and going back in time, here we have a Moche ceramic vessel  from the coast of Peru, c. 200AD-600AD

New York

Also from the Moche, a Head Vessel from 100AD to 600AD.


This is a gold figure which originally would have held other objects (now missing) and worn a headdress.  Hammered from many pieces of fine quality gold, it is from the Tolita-Tumaco style area on the Equador-Columbia border along the Pacific coast, 0AD to 400AD.

Olmec jade mask, 1000BC to 600BC - Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met)

Further north and further back in time, this is an Olmec mask from 1000BC to 500BC.  The Olmec were one of the earliest Meso-American civilisations.  They were based in a Caribbean coast region of Southern Mexico and are also known for producing massive stone heads in a similar style to the Jadeite one above.  The stone heads could weight as much as 40 or 50 tons and be three metres high.

Miro, Dutch Interior III (1928) - Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met)

Back in the modern period, no prizes for recognising the work of Joan Miro.  Called Dutch Interior (III) from 1928, it was inspired by postcards or Dutch genre scenes that he collected in a two-week trip to Holland.  The central figure is an archer and it is possible that his style is somewhat different from the original postcards.

Max Ernst - Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met)

Max Ernst.

Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met)

Picasso, Modigliani and Giacometti.  With spectators.

New York

And the final image is a view including Belvedere Castle in the fading light across Central Park, as we walked back from the Met to the Subway.

3 November 2011.

Islamic Art Exhibition at the Met

We made a special return to the Met to catch the opening of an Islamic Art exhibition.

Islamic Art Exhibition at Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met)

Giv discovers Kai Khusrau
by Qadimi and ‘Abd al-Vahhab c. 1525-1530

After a seven-year search for the future Shah, the persistent Iranian knight Giv finally discovered the prince Kai Khusrau.  Faithful to the story, the painting features an idyllic spring landscape, the remoteness of which is indicated by the barren hill in the background.  The black pool next to Kai Khusrau and the stream flowing away from it would have originally been silver, which has now tarnished.

Islamic Art Exhibition at Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met)

Bahram Gur Slays the Rhino-Wolf
by ‘Abd al-‘Aziz c. 1530-1535

Shah Shangul asked Bahram to rid the world of a monstrous rhino-wolf, which tore the hearts from lions and the skin from leopards.   Bahram strung up his bow and sped towards the rhino-wolf, pouring a mighty hail of arrows onto the beast.  In this painting, the image of the rhino-wolf breaks through the rulings of the painting into the marins, lending the composition dynamism and suggesting the extension of the setting beyond the confines of the page.

Islamic Art Exhibition at Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met)

The Concourse of Birds
by Habiballah of Sava c. 1600

The poetic text of ‘Attar’s @Mantiq al’Tair comprises a series of parables narrated by the Hoopoe, who leads a gathering of birds on a difficult journey to find the mythic Simurgh.  Perhaps the best known image from the manuscript, this folio illustrates the small, crested hoopoe bird addressing his companions before their departure. This charming painting is one of four added to the original manuscript in the early seventeenth century at the court of Shah ‘Abbas (r. 1587-1629) and is signed by the painter Habiballah.

1 December 2011