The Master Class

Security officer Jack Laughner on lessons learned from great artists in the Met's galleries.

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You have to get as close as you can. I get quite close and actually have to take my glasses off to see the incredible detail.

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  • Jack Laughner
    1280852
  • The Life Class, Second Stone  |  1917  |  George Bellows (American)  |  Lithograph  |  Purchase, Charles Z. Offin Art Fund, Inc. Gift, 1978 (1978.670.1)
    1280948
  • The Harvesters  |  1565  |  Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish)  |  Oil on wood  |  Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.164)
    1280946
  • The Harvesters  |  1565  |  Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish)  |  Oil on wood  |  Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.164)
    1280940
  • Jack Laughner  |  Tower of Babel  |  Pen and ink  |  2011
    1280865
  • Jack Laughner holding postcard of Tower of Babel in Great Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art  |  2011
    1280956
  • Cottage among Trees  |  1648–50  |  Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch)  |  Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, on paper washed with brown  |  H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.939)
    1280796
  • Under a Cloud  |  ca. 1900  |  Albert Pinkham Ryder (American)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Gift of Alice E. Van Orden, in memory of her husband, Dr. T. Durland Van Orden, 1988 (1988.353)
    12171024
  • Studies for the Libyan Sibyl (recto); Studies for the Libyan Sibyl and a Small Sketch for a Seated Figure (verso)  |  1508–12  |  Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian)  |  Italian  |  Red chalk (recto); charcoal or black chalk (verso)  |  Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1924 (24.197.2)
    7571024
  • Studies for the Libyan Sibyl (recto); Studies for the Libyan Sibyl and a Small Sketch for a Seated Figure (verso)  |  1508–12  |  Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian)  |  Italian  |  Red chalk (recto); charcoal or black chalk (verso)  |  Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1924 (24.197.2)
    9231024
  • Adam and Eve  |  1504  |  Albrecht Dürer (German)  |  Engraving  |  Fletcher Fund, 1919 (19.73.1)
    8101024
  • Adam and Eve  |  1504  |  Albrecht Dürer (German)  |  Engraving  |  Fletcher Fund, 1919 (19.73.1)
    7361024
  • Adam and Eve  |  1504  |  Albrecht Dürer (German)  |  Engraving  |  Fletcher Fund, 1919 (19.73.1)
    1280959
  • Armors for Man and Horse  |  dated 1548  |  Kunz Lochner (German)  |  Etched steel, leather  |  Bashford Dean Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. Bashford Dean, 1929 (29.151.2)  |  Rogers Fund, 1932 (32.69)
    8011024
  • Armors for Man and Horse  |  dated 1548  |  Kunz Lochner (German)  |  Etched steel, leather  |  Bashford Dean Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. Bashford Dean, 1929 (29.151.2)  |  Rogers Fund, 1932 (32.69)
    1280945
  • Armors for Man and Horse  |  dated 1548  |  Kunz Lochner (German)  |  Etched steel, leather  |  Bashford Dean Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. Bashford Dean, 1929 (29.151.2)  |  Rogers Fund, 1932 (32.69)
    1280984
  • The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters: Plate 43 of The Caprices (Los Caprichos)  |  1799  |  Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish)  |  Etching, aquatint, drypoint, and burin  |  Gift of M. Knoedler & Co., 1918 (18.64)
    7231024
  • Big Fish Eat Little Fish  |  1557  |  Pieter van der Heyden after Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish)  |  Engraving; first state of three  |  Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1917 (17.3.859)
    1280988
  • Night Shadows  |  1921  |  Edward Hopper (American)  |  Etching  |  Harriet Brisbane Dick Fund, 1925 (25.31.2)
    12061024
  • The Secret Emperor (The Industrialist Hugo Stinnes)  |  1920  |  George Grosz (American, born Germany)  |  Ink on paper  |  Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2002 (2002.492)  |  Estate of George Grosz
    7751024
  • The Secret Emperor (The Industrialist Hugo Stinnes)  |  1920  |  George Grosz (American, born Germany)  |  Ink on paper  |  Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2002 (2002.492)  |  Estate of George Grosz
    8041024
  • The Secret Emperor (The Industrialist Hugo Stinnes)  |  1920  |  George Grosz (American, born Germany)  |  Ink on paper  |  Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2002 (2002.492)  |  Estate of George Grosz
    10041024
  • The Secret Emperor (The Industrialist Hugo Stinnes)  |  1920  |  George Grosz (American, born Germany)  |  Ink on paper  |  Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2002 (2002.492)  |  Estate of George Grosz
    1280832
  • "What are You Laughing at? To the Victor Belong the Spoils"  |  November 25, 1871  |  Thomas Nast (American, born Germany)  |  Wood engraving  |  Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1928 (28.111.4(2))
    7041024
  • "What are You Laughing at? To the Victor Belong the Spoils"  |  November 25, 1871  |  Thomas Nast (American, born Germany)  |  Wood engraving  |  Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1928 (28.111.4(2))
    9911024
  • Rue Transnonain, April 15, 1834  |  August and September 1834  |  Honoré Daumier (French)  |  Lithography  |  Rogers Fund, 1920 (20.23)
    1280865
  • Retreat from the Storm  |  ca. 1846  |  Jean-François Millet (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Signed (lower left): J.F. Millet  |  Gift of Sarina Tang and Peter M. Wood, 2002 (2002.613)
    8341024
  • And There's Nothing to Be Done (Y no hai remedio)  |  1810–23  |  Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish)  |  Etching, drypoint, burin, and burnisher  |  Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1932 (32.62.17)
    12181024
  • And There's Nothing to Be Done (Y no hai remedio)  |  1810–23  |  Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish)  |  Etching, drypoint, burin, and burnisher  |  Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1932 (32.62.17)
    11301024
  • Le Passé–Le Présent–L'Avenir (Past, Present, Future)  |  January 9, 1834  |  Honoré Daumier (French)  |  Lithograph  |  Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1941 (41.16.1)
    8071024
  • Jack Laughner
    1280852
  • My name is Jack Laughner and I'm a security officer at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. My topic is "The Master Class."

  • A very unique element to the Museum is that a lot of the guards are artists, myself being one. And as

  • an artist, I use the time in between answering questions and on my days off, or

  • that half hour before the Museum opens, to learn from the works.

  • I'm a pen and ink artist. I like not only the immediacy of the pen to the paper, but its black and white quality which, to the human eye is immediately abstracted. The piece shown here is called Tower of Babel, which is

  • my representation of a Bruegel painting, where the Tower of Babel now sits inside the main hall of the Museum.

  • Refinement in artwork is incredibly important. If one could peel away everything that is unnecessary you get

  • to the soul of the work and from there, it's much easier to understand what the artist's intentions were, or as an artist myself, what I'm trying to depict in my work.

  • Michelangelo, the lengths that he went to creating those very small gestures

  • really speaks to me as an artist, where you may be thinking to yourself, "Am I overdoing it?" You find out they went to the same lengths to create.

  • Albrecht Dürer's Adam and Eve is an incredible work to view.

  • It's quite small and the technical virtuosity almost can't be seen.

  • You have to get as close as you can. I get quite close and actually have to take my glasses off to see the incredible detail.

  • Every time I walk in front of Kunz Lochner's Armors for Man and [his] Horse, my romantic side comes out, and I

  • imagine the artist toiling away in his metalsmith shop

  • putting in detail, most likely no one ever would see.

  • I could speak for myself where I've been on the floor like this figure here with his head on the desk, trying to find that power inside you to create, can be very scary.

  • Another important element is the idea of power, and not only visual power

  • but the emotional or psychological effects that the work of art has.

  • George Grosz, here he depicts a industrialist holding a

  • hand puppet, which I believe to be a politician.

  • The background is filled with industry and destruction

  • and in the foreground, money and skulls.

  • Nast is an inspiration to me, and he's a perfect example of the pen is mightier than the sword. He

  • defeated Tweed, not physically, he did drawings on paper and drawings on stone, and when "Boss" Tweed was actually captured by officials in Spain, they recognized his face from Thomas Nast's drawings.

  • The power of consequence in this work is incredibly real. To me it's a testament to artists and to the freedom of speech that we all fight for.

  • Life is a battle, and it's represented here as a storm. The woman pushing on, the determination in her face, nothing is gonna keep her from protecting her child.

  • My attraction to a lot of these artists is the fact that, where some may choose not to or pretend to not see what's

  • going in the world, these artists stood up to the bullies of their time, and they never backed down.

  • Being faced with these masters, it's an endless fountain of inspiration. To me as an artist and to me more so as a person, that's how

  • I want to live my life, and that's how I always have.

  • 1978.670.1
    The Life Class, Second Stone, 1917, George Bellows (American), Lithograph Purchase, Charles Z. Offin Art Fund, Inc. Gift, 1978 (1978.670.1)
  • 19.164
    The Harvesters, 1565, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish), Oil on wood Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.164)
  • 29.100.939
    Cottage among Trees, 1648–50, Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch), Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, on paper washed with brown H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.939)
  • 1988.353
    Under a Cloud, ca. 1900, Albert Pinkham Ryder (American), Oil on canvas Gift of Alice E. Van Orden, in memory of her husband, Dr. T. Durland Van Orden, 1988 (1988.353)
  • 24.197.2
    Studies for the Libyan Sibyl (recto); Studies for the Libyan Sibyl and a Small Sketch for a Seated Figure (verso), 1508–12, Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian), Italian, Red chalk (recto); charcoal or black chalk (verso) Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1924 (24.197.2)
  • 19.73.1
    Adam and Eve, 1504, Albrecht Dürer (German), Engraving Fletcher Fund, 1919 (19.73.1)
  • 29.151.2,32.69
    Armors for Man and Horse, dated 1548, Kunz Lochner (German), Etched steel, leather Bashford Dean Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. Bashford Dean, 1929 (29.151.2) Rogers Fund, 1932 (32.69)
  • 18.64.43
    The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters: Plate 43 of The Caprices (Los Caprichos), 1799, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish), Etching, aquatint, drypoint, and burin Gift of M. Knoedler & Co., 1918 (18.64)
  • 17.3.859
    Big Fish Eat Little Fish, 1557, Pieter van der Heyden after Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish), Engraving; first state of three Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1917 (17.3.859)
  • 25.31.2
    Night Shadows, 1921, Edward Hopper (American), Etching Harriet Brisbane Dick Fund, 1925 (25.31.2)
  • 2002.492
    The Secret Emperor (The Industrialist Hugo Stinnes), 1920, George Grosz (American, born Germany), Ink on paper Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2002 (2002.492) Estate of George Grosz
  • 28.111.4(2)
    "What are You Laughing at? To the Victor Belong the Spoils", November 25, 1871, Thomas Nast (American, born Germany), Wood engraving Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1928 (28.111.4(2))
  • 20.23
    Rue Transnonain, April 15, 1834, August and September 1834, Honoré Daumier (French), Lithography Rogers Fund, 1920 (20.23)
  • 2002.613
    Retreat from the Storm, ca. 1846, Jean-François Millet (French), Oil on canvas, Signed (lower left): J.F. Millet Gift of Sarina Tang and Peter M. Wood, 2002 (2002.613)
  • 32.62.17
    And There's Nothing to Be Done (Y no hai remedio), 1810–23, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish), Etching, drypoint, burin, and burnisher Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1932 (32.62.17)
  • 41.16.1
    Le Passé–Le Présent–L'Avenir (Past, Present, Future), January 9, 1834, Honoré Daumier (French), Lithograph Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1941 (41.16.1)
  • The Life Class, Second Stone, 1917, George Bellows (American), Lithograph Purchase, Charles Z. Offin Art Fund, Inc. Gift, 1978 (1978.670.1)
    The Harvesters, 1565, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish), Oil on wood Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.164)
    Cottage among Trees, 1648–50, Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch), Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, on paper washed with brown H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.939)
    Under a Cloud, ca. 1900, Albert Pinkham Ryder (American), Oil on canvas Gift of Alice E. Van Orden, in memory of her husband, Dr. T. Durland Van Orden, 1988 (1988.353)
    Studies for the Libyan Sibyl (recto); Studies for the Libyan Sibyl and a Small Sketch for a Seated Figure (verso), 1508–12, Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian), Italian, Red chalk (recto); charcoal or black chalk (verso) Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1924 (24.197.2)
    Adam and Eve, 1504, Albrecht Dürer (German), Engraving Fletcher Fund, 1919 (19.73.1)
    Armors for Man and Horse, dated 1548, Kunz Lochner (German), Etched steel, leather Bashford Dean Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. Bashford Dean, 1929 (29.151.2) Rogers Fund, 1932 (32.69)
    The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters: Plate 43 of The Caprices (Los Caprichos), 1799, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish), Etching, aquatint, drypoint, and burin Gift of M. Knoedler & Co., 1918 (18.64)
    Big Fish Eat Little Fish, 1557, Pieter van der Heyden after Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish), Engraving; first state of three Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1917 (17.3.859)
    Night Shadows, 1921, Edward Hopper (American), Etching Harriet Brisbane Dick Fund, 1925 (25.31.2)
    The Secret Emperor (The Industrialist Hugo Stinnes), 1920, George Grosz (American, born Germany), Ink on paper Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2002 (2002.492) Estate of George Grosz
    "What are You Laughing at? To the Victor Belong the Spoils", November 25, 1871, Thomas Nast (American, born Germany), Wood engraving Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1928 (28.111.4(2))
    Rue Transnonain, April 15, 1834, August and September 1834, Honoré Daumier (French), Lithography Rogers Fund, 1920 (20.23)
    Retreat from the Storm, ca. 1846, Jean-François Millet (French), Oil on canvas, Signed (lower left): J.F. Millet Gift of Sarina Tang and Peter M. Wood, 2002 (2002.613)
    And There's Nothing to Be Done (Y no hai remedio), 1810–23, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish), Etching, drypoint, burin, and burnisher Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1932 (32.62.17)
    Le Passé–Le Présent–L'Avenir (Past, Present, Future), January 9, 1834, Honoré Daumier (French), Lithograph Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1941 (41.16.1)
    8000–2000 B.C.
    2000–1000 B.C.
    1000 B.C.–1 A.D.
    1–500 A.D.
    500–1000 A.D.
    1000–1400 A.D.
    1400–1600 A.D.
    1600–1800 A.D.
    1800–1900 A.D.
    1900–Present

    Works of art in order of appearance

    Last Updated: August 19, 2013. Not all works of art in the Museum's collection may be on view on a particular day. For the most accurate location information, please check this page on the day of your visit.

    The Life Class, Second Stone
    1917
    George Bellows (American)
    Lithograph
    Purchase, Charles Z. Offin Art Fund, Inc. Gift, 1978 (1978.670.1)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    The Harvesters
    1565
    Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish)
    Oil on wood
    Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.164)
    On view: Gallery 642
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Cottage among Trees
    1648–50
    Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch)
    Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, on paper washed with brown
    H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.939)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    Under a Cloud
    ca. 1900
    Albert Pinkham Ryder (American)
    Oil on canvas
    Gift of Alice E. Van Orden, in memory of her husband, Dr. T. Durland Van Orden, 1988 (1988.353)
    On view: Gallery 774
    American Paintings and SculptureFirst and Second Floors
    Studies for the Libyan Sibyl (recto); Studies for the Libyan Sibyl and a Small Sketch for a Seated Figure (verso)
    1508–12
    Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian)
    Italian
    Red chalk (recto); charcoal or black chalk (verso)
    Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1924 (24.197.2)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    Adam and Eve
    1504
    Albrecht Dürer (German)
    Engraving
    Fletcher Fund, 1919 (19.73.1)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    Armors for Man and Horse
    dated 1548
    Kunz Lochner (German)
    Etched steel, leather
    Bashford Dean Memorial Collection, Gift of Mrs. Bashford Dean, 1929 (29.151.2)
    Rogers Fund, 1932 (32.69)
    On view: Gallery 371
    Arms and ArmorFirst Floor
    The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters: Plate 43 of The Caprices (Los Caprichos)
    1799
    Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish)
    Etching, aquatint, drypoint, and burin
    Gift of M. Knoedler & Co., 1918 (18.64)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    Big Fish Eat Little Fish
    1557
    Pieter van der Heyden after Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish)
    Engraving; first state of three
    Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1917 (17.3.859)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    Night Shadows
    1921
    Edward Hopper (American)
    Etching
    Harriet Brisbane Dick Fund, 1925 (25.31.2)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    The Secret Emperor (The Industrialist Hugo Stinnes)
    1920
    George Grosz (American, born Germany)
    Ink on paper
    Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2002 (2002.492)
    Estate of George Grosz
    Not on view
    Modern and Contemporary ArtSecond Floor
    "What are You Laughing at? To the Victor Belong the Spoils"
    November 25, 1871
    Thomas Nast (American, born Germany)
    Wood engraving
    Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1928 (28.111.4(2))
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    Rue Transnonain, April 15, 1834
    August and September 1834
    Honoré Daumier (French)
    Lithography
    Rogers Fund, 1920 (20.23)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    Retreat from the Storm
    ca. 1846
    Jean-François Millet (French)
    Oil on canvas
    Signed (lower left): J.F. Millet
    Gift of Sarina Tang and Peter M. Wood, 2002 (2002.613)
    On view: Gallery 802
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    And There's Nothing to Be Done (Y no hai remedio)
    1810–23
    Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish)
    Etching, drypoint, burin, and burnisher
    Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1932 (32.62.17)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    Le Passé–Le Présent–L'Avenir (Past, Present, Future)
    January 9, 1834
    Honoré Daumier (French)
    Lithograph
    Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1941 (41.16.1)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor

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