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Highlights Tour: Visitor Favorites

This tour will lead you through time and across cultures in an exploration of the Museum's encyclopedic collection. Works of art by some of the greatest artists in the history of art are included as are works whose creators are unknown or anonymous. Two members of our staff designed this itinerary to reflect their favorite works in our collection as well as those of our visitors.

Tour stops (8)

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    Dancing Maenad

    The grand, barrel-vaulted Mary and Michael Jaharis Gallery displays large-scale sculpture and other monumental works of the sixth, fifth, and fourth centuries B.C.

    Works of the sixth century include examples from the Museum's distinguished collection of Panathenaic amphorae amid other works related to ancient Greek athletics. In the center of the gallery are displayed large-scale marble copies—made during the Roman period—of bronze statues that were created in Greece during the fifth and fourth centuries but were lost or melted down over time. Original marble statues of the fourth century B.C. are shown by the crowning sculptures of tall Athenian grave monuments.

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    Cubiculum Nocturnum

    This is an accurate reconstruction of a bedroom from the Roman villa at Boscoreale (ca. 50–40 B.C.) that was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24, A.D. 79. The walls are decorated with highly ornate and colorful frescoes of the so-called Second Style, comprising urban landscapes with towering architectural vistas on the side walls and rocky outdoor scenes populated by various songbirds on the rear wall.

    Known as the villa of P. Fannius Synistor, the building was excavated in 1900.

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    Power Figure

    At the entrance to the African collection in the Samuel H. and Linda M. Lindenbaum Gallery is the Museum's iconic Kongo Power Figure from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a formidable monumental work that evokes a force of jurisprudence made present in the form of a presiding authority. This large gallery houses works related to Mande cultures that extend across present-day Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Côte d'Ivoire.

    Among these is the earliest work from Africa in the collection, a twelfth-century figure in fired clay from the ancient urban center of Djenne situated in Mali's Inland Niger Delta region. Other highlights include figurative wood sculpture for altars and shrines, masking traditions relating to initiation associations, and decorative arts created by Dogon, Bamana, and Senufo carvers.

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    Pollock, Autumn Rhythm

    Galleries 921 and 922 display the Metropolitan collection's many strong examples of Abstract Expressionist painting made in New York in the mid-twentieth century.

    On view are major works by Jackson Pollock, including two of his classic "drip" paintings, powerful gestural compositions by Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, and luminous, softly brushed color abstractions by Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko. The sculptor David Smith is represented by an early example of his Tanktotem series, a welded steel and bronze sculpture incorporating industrial materials.

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    Van Gogh, Wheatfield with Cypresses

    The Annenberg Collection (Galleries 821–823) includes more than fifty works by eighteen of the most renowned artists working in France during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, among them Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Picasso.

    The collection was assembled by Walter H. Annenberg (1908–2002) and his wife, Leonore Annenberg (1918–2009), over a period of four decades, beginning in the early 1950s. The Annenberg gift stipulates that the collection must be exhibited together and always remain on the premises of the Metropolitan Museum.

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    Giotto, The Epiphany

    The mercantile republic of Florence transformed European culture in the fourteenth century with the poetry of Dante and Petrarch and with the Decameron of Boccaccio. Giotto dominated the period with his solidly constructed figures and mastery of pictorial space. As one early writer noted, "Giotto translated the art of painting from Greek into Latin and made it modern." The transformation can be appreciated in this gallery by comparing Berlinghiero's Byzantine-styled Madonna and Child of the 1230s with Giotto's Epiphany of a century later. Tender Madonnas, rugged saints, and dramatic narrative paintings possess a new humanity relative to their counterparts in medieval art. The gold backgrounds, carried over from the previous era, would have come alive when seen by candlelight. Lorenzo Monaco took his cue from northern European courtly art in depicting four Old Testament prophets seated on benches with a grave yet graceful intensity.

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    Astor Court

    Inspired by Brooke Russell Astor, who spent part of her childhood in China, The Astor Court and its adjoining reception room (Gallery 218) featuring Ming dynasty hardwood furniture opened to the public in 1981, a gift of the Vincent Astor Foundation.

    Modeled on a seventeenth-century courtyard in the Garden of the Master of the Fishing Nets in Suzhou, the court was entirely constructed using traditional tools and techniques. An eighteenth-century imperial kiln was reopened to fire the ceramic tiles; rare nan wood was hand-planed into columns; specimen Taihu rocks were used for the rockeries, and a granite terrace was hand chiseled from a Suzhou quarry.

    A team of twenty-six Chinese craftsmen (along with a chef) spent six months in New York assembling the components.

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    Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Diana

    This vast, light-filled space presents the Museum's unsurpassed collection of American monumental sculpture, architectural elements, and stained glass. It is the grand vestibule to the American Wing, which houses period rooms and galleries for American decorative arts, paintings, and sculpture.

    The north end of the court is anchored by the Neoclassical facade of the Branch Bank of the United States, originally located on Wall Street. The exotic entrance loggia designed by Louis C. Tiffany for Laurelton Hall, his country estate on Long Island, stands directly opposite. Nineteenth-century marble and bronze sculptures—from idealized Neoclassical literary and allegorical subjects to Beaux-Arts representations of human and animal forms in motion—are installed throughout the court. The centerpiece is the gilded Diana, heralding the Museum's exemplary holdings of works by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

    A comprehensive history of American stained glass is also presented, from William Jay Bolton and John Bolton's Gothic Revival Miriam and Jubal, originally installed at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn, to the boldly geometric Avery Coonley Playhouse windows by Frank Lloyd Wright. Tiffany's masterful iridescent and opalescent glass is highlighted in several windows and mosaics.

    American Neoclassical Sculpture

    The marble sculptures installed directly in front of the facade of the Branch Bank of the United States were created by a group of mid-nineteenth-century expatriate artists who practiced their art in Italy. Based in Florence and Rome, these professional sculptors enjoyed access to talented craftsmen and carvers, an abundant supply of statuary marble, and the inspiration of classical, Renaissance, and contemporary art. They modeled narrative subjects inspired by mythology, literature, and history, in a smooth, idealized style. While Randolph Rogers's Nydia, the Blind Flower Girl of Pompeii drew its theme from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79, Hiram Powers's California was inspired by the California Gold Rush that began in 1848.

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