Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Walk Through Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The morning began at Cafe Boulud with breakfast of Poached Eggs Meurette with Vermont venison sausage. There could not have been a better way to begin the day. Our New York visit was art centric with The Armory Show having been first on our list. So, with attending the Armory Show accomplished and completely enjoyed ,we had other plans ahead.
Next up, three exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that we really wanted to see. But first an interlude, some time for the outdoors. A walk through Central Park would do just fine.....

From 1858-1861,Frederick Law Olmstead ( chief Architect) along with Calvert Vaux, spent their time designing this oasis in the middle of Manhattan. We know this place as Central Park. The natural contours of the land have wide meandering paths that lead around natural rock formations,open grassy areas, under tall shade trees, past ponds and pools and specimen trees and flowers. It is so welcoming.

I spotted this mist of yellow in the distance across the pond. My first thought, Witch Hazel, but on closer look I determined it to be a Cornelian Cherry, aka. Cornus mas. This is tree that I would like to incorporate in our New Hampshire garden for this early burst of yellow. At the time the Magnolia's were not in bloom....yet. Crocus and many daffodils were in glorious spring flower.
After the record high temperatures that we have been experiencing over the past week I imagine much is in bloom right now.

A glimpse of an Eastern Redbud ( cercis canadensis) glows pink across the way over this outcropping of rock with the tall buildings of Manhattan providing a backdrop.

James and I followed the winding paths through the park making our way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Met is located on 5th Avenue at 82St. The original architect of the building was Calvert Vaux ( remember him, assistant in Central Pk. to Olmstead), along with Jacob Wrey Mould. The original building was of a Gothic design. Additions have covered most of this original structure. The only visible evidence of this Gothic structure can be seen at the Robert Lehman wing of the Museum.

The 5th Avenue facade was designed in 1902 by Richard Morris Hunt in the Beaux-Art style. The grand stairs rising to the front door is an iconic New York City image. It is a gathering area where the stairs serve as a resting spot for people enjoying the city while eating a hot dog or talking on cell phone. Everyone is on a cell phone.

One of the exhibits we were here to see was The Renaissnace Portrait, from Donatello to Bellini. As I snaped this picture, James and I heard a voice call out, "James, Beth". We of course, pay no attention. It is NY after all, there must be a million people named Beth and James here. Then we heard, " Aponoviches",
that caught our attention. It was our dear friend, Judith. Her hub, our friend Robert, will join us later for lunch.

The Renaissance Portrait show is spectacular. It is said that, "The Renaissance witnessed the rediscovery of the individual". This exhibition was full of masterful examples of portraiture from Italy in the 15th Century. There are no photos allowed in special exhibits. But we all loved it, we were in awe.

One show seen, now a break for coffee in the cafe of The American Wing. On our way we walked through several galleries knowing full well we were just passing by masterpiece after masterpiece. Sometimes you have to put blinders on and choose what you are there to see. But then..........we were halted......an altarpiece caught our attention. We stopped, this work demanded our attention. It was
Raphael's Altarpiece, Madonna and Child Enthroned, ( 1504). This alterpiece was originally painted by Raphael for a convent in a church in Perugia, Italy. The artist Pietro Perugino was Raphael's teacher/master. Perugino's influence is evident in this Raphael painting. The figures are all fully clothed and it is said that this was done at the request of the nun's.
Rather sorry it is not still where it was painted, but on this day, very happy to have it here at it's home at the Met. This gallery alone is full of European art treasures, Caravaggio's, Bronzino's, etc.
We continued on.....

The Atrium of The American Wing

On to the cafe for a coffee and a view at the Atrium of The American Wing. Central to this Atrium is a sculpture of Diana, by the American sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens. On a wall is a marvelously intricate and colorful garden mosaic by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Entering this naturally lit sculpture garden courtyard is uplifting. Once again , spectacular artwork, this time all American.
After coffee,it was on to another exhibit of great interest, Duncan Phyfe, Master Cabinetmaker in New York. This is an impressive collection of works by this American master of furniture making, Duncan Phyfe, an extraordinary exhibit.

Augustus Saint Gaudens

At noon we met Robert for lunch at a Museum cafe, after a leisurely meal we pulled ourselves out of our chairs and moved on to the last exhibit on our list, The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso and the Parisian Avant-Garde.
Gertrude Stein Along with her brothers Leo and Michael were significant collectors and art patrons of the Avant-Garde in Paris early in the 20the Century. Upon entering this exhibit there is a digital installation that recreates the Steins art filled Paris apartments in different years. Here there is a glimpse of the artwork that is in the exhibition galleries. this is a large show and I must say by the fourth room we were beginning to give out. We will have to return to this show once again , there are some great works here.

Our head were filled with art and our feet tired we returned to The Surrey hotel for a brief rest. At 7:00 a drink at Bar Pleiades, James enjoyed a cold Martini and I selected to have their specialty, an Old Fashioned. Later that evening we met Judith and Robert
for dinner at Centolire. Buon appetito!

Rest up........Tomorrow is another day.

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