During my trip to New York City, I spent an entire day at the Metropolitian Museum of Art. The Met is usually closed on Mondays but this year they were open to accommodate holiday travellers, viewers and art lovers.
So on Monday I decided to take advantage and hopefully dodge some of the horrendous crowds that I’d experienced at MoMa (I had made the mistake of going on Friday – when they give free tickets after 5pm). It wasn’t crowded there but because it was a day they weren’t normally opened, they had some of the galleries closed. So I wasn’t able to hit the European painting section that held the Rembrandts; this, of course, made me one sad panda.
The Met had a several special shows, one Art and Love in Renaissance Italy as well as a great show show celebrating the 30 year curatorship of Phillip de Montebello. I was very happy to see that one of Lucian Freud’s portraits of Leigh Bowery (Naked Man, Back View) was prominently displayed.
I love Freud’s work and I can never really explain why. He paints so very differently than I do, his brushwork is lively and bold, quite thick and impasto. He usually works large. Perhaps it is simply that he makes no apologies for his subject matter and he paints what he sees. I believe it is important to him that he conveys the personality of the subject (at least in his portraits). Although he posed Leigh facing away from him for this painting, he’s painted Leigh in various frontal poses as well. I
I also fell in love with Johannes Vermeer on this trip. Okay actually I love Vermeer’s work. Part of the show had a lovely painting Portrait of a Young Woman.
The first thing I love about this painting is that the young woman isn’t beautiful. Although the title indicates that she is a young woman, she looks like a young child to me. She seems very vulnerable and gentle. The painting is so dramatic and jewel-like in person. For some reason her silk wrap shows as grey but it’s actually a pale blue in person. For some reason none of my photographs came out well so I used the photo on the Met’s website (the Freud painting was taken from the site as well).
One of the tiny gems as the Art and Love in Renaissance Italy was a very tiny sketch by DaVinci. There is a tiny drawing of (I believe) Hercules as well as several other items. They funny thing about Hercules is that the reverse side shows the figure from behind!
If you look closely you can see what appears to be a glider or some type of wingspan. Of course it could be my imagination run wild. This thumbnail shows the area in more detail.