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Fasanella, 1992

Born in the Bronx on Labor Day in 1914 to recent Italian immigrants, the self-taught American painter Ralph Fasanella is known today for his bustling tableaux of working-class city life.

Berenice Abbott: A View of the 20th Century, 1992

“The only pleasure you can get from creating something is the pleasure you have in doing it, not the final product even,” the photographer Berenice Abbott once said of her work.

An overhead image of highways

Organism, 1975—A Film by Hilary Harris

Using time-lapse footage of New York City, the filmmaker Hilary Harris imagines the metropolis as a living organism.

Famous Foreign Lady Captures Heart of New York, 1963

On February 7, 1963, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa made her public debut at The Met.

Alice Neel seated in a chair in front of a large painting of a nude pregnant woman

Alice Neel: They Are Their Own Gifts, 1978

A self-proclaimed “collector of souls,” the American painter Alice Neel is known today for her powerful, psychologically rich portraiture.

The Art of Lotte Reiniger, 1970

Lotte Reiniger’s 1926 The Adventures of Prince Achmed is the oldest surviving full-length animated film.

Flowers and Gardens, 1982

Flowers are more than merely decorative. People throughout time have used them as storytelling devices.

The Sun and Richard Lippold, 1966

The artist and musician Richard Lippold is perhaps best known in New York City for his spectacular Orpheus and Apollo (1962), a five-ton chandelier made of shimmering metal ribbons that once hung in the lobby of the New York Philharmonic.

An old photo of a woman dressing a manequin

The Eighteenth Century Woman, 1982

The painter Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun once wrote of the 18th century, “Women reigned then; the Revolution dethroned them.”

The Spectre: A Legend of Old New England, 1925

Superstition and fear ran rampant in 17th-century New England, causing many people to conjure up visions of spectres—which they believed could only be exorcised with certain rites.

An artist kneels in a tiny village

Dwellings, 1974—The Art of Charles Simonds

Since the 1970s, the artist Charles Simonds has created enigmatic dwellings for an imaginary civilization of “Little People.”

Daily Life in Egypt: Ancient and Modern, 1925

When this film was made a century ago, Cairo was much smaller, and to Western visitors the way of life along the Nile River appeared to resemble that of Pharaonic Egypt.

Jacob Lawrence: An Intimate Portrait, 1993

In this short feature, produced to accompany a 1993 LACMA exhibition of Jacob Lawrence’s series on Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, hear from the artist and those who knew him well.

A stained glass window

Architecture of Transcendence, 1988

This atmospheric short film presents the many wonders of France’s Cathedral of Saint Peter of Beauvais, from its intricate stained glass to its soaring, vaulted interior.

Cities of the Gods, 1970

Shot on location in Mexico and Honduras, this film tells the sweeping story of the civilizations that flourished in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean for centuries before European colonization.

De Artificiali Perspectiva, or Anamorphosis, 1991

In this dazzling short animation by the Brothers Quay, learn about the illusionistic technique known as anamorphosis, in which a hidden image only becomes visible when viewed from a different angle or in a curved mirror.

Steel Drums in New York, 1977

In this thought-provoking film, musicians such as Ellie Mannette and Pete Seeger talk shop and explain what they love about the steel drum, from its origins in Trinidad and Tobago to its status as one of the world’s most popular musical instruments.

Shorelines, 1977—A Short Film by Al Jarnow

Let Al Jarnow’s entrancing short film take you to the beach.

The Fuentidueña Apse (Excerpts), 1957 & 1959

This short film presents rare footage of 12th-century Romanesque apse at its original site in the Castilian countryside, where dismantling the structure required meticulously numbering and crating each of its nearly 3,300 stone pieces.

Süleyman the Magnificent, 1987

Shot on location in Istanbul, Edirne, and the Turkish countryside, and narrated by Ian McKellan, this documentary explores Süleyman (or Süleiman) the Magnificent, the longest-reigning emperor of the Ottoman empire.

Childe Hassam, Artist: A Short Personal Sketch, 1932

The American Impressionist painter Childe Hassam is known today for his depictions of New England landscapes and portraits of life in turn-of-the-century New York.

The Making of Wrought Iron, 1928

Perhaps the most famous wrought-iron monument is the Eiffel Tower in Paris. But you can also find wrought iron all around you on the streets of New York City, decorating balconies, staircases, windows, and doorways.

In a Brilliant Light: Van Gogh in Arles, 1984

Near the end of his life, Vincent van Gogh moved from Paris to the city of Arles in southeastern France, where he experienced the most productive period of his artistic career.

A young smiling girl

In the Street, 1948—A Film by Helen Levitt, ft. New Musical Score by Ben Model

Filmed in East Harlem just after the end of World War II, In the Street is a dynamic, tender, and often humorous portrait of life in New York City.

The Fayum Portraits: Funerary Painting of Roman Egypt, 1988

This enigmatic short film presents 50 Egyptian funerary portraits from the region of Fayum.

Art by the Ton, 1923

The American sculptor George Grey Barnard—known as the “modern Michelangelo” for his ambitious, often larger-than-life marble sculptures—perfects several projects in this charming vignette, including two massive busts of Abraham Lincoln.

Journey to Saint James: A Pilgrim’s Guide, 1993

Follow a pilgrimage across Europe to the shrine of Saint James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

The Pottery Maker, 1926

An elderly woman brings her granddaughter to a pottery studio in search of a new pitcher—but the mischievous youngster has other plans.

Head, 1975—A Short Film by George Griffin

A gem of analog animation, George Griffin’s Head offers a delightfully snarky and clever self-portrait of the artist as a not-so-young man, undone by his own cartoon surrogate.

La Belle Époque, 1983—Featuring Diana Vreeland and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

This outrageous and slyly self-aware documentary revisits The Costume Institute’s 1982 exhibition La Belle Époque, from the decadence in fin-de-siècle Paris through the global pandemonium of World War I.

A man plays the triangle in a band

Arts Awareness, 1972

“We discovered that art history was not the best handle by which to reach a kid.”

Curators’ Choices, 1982

“Curator” comes from the Latin word “cura,” meaning “to take care.”

The Hidden Talisman, 1928

This ghostly romance tells the story of two young lovers in medieval France.

Nevelson in Process, 1977

The artist Louise Nevelson was known for her elaborate and monumental sculptures made of found materials such as discarded wood and scrap metal.

A bronze statue of a woman and a horse

Art in Public Places, 1973

“It seems funny to say it, but long before there was an ‘art world,’ there was art in the world.”

The Gorgon’s Head, 1925

In this charming silent film, a drawing student’s daydream at The Met brings the ancient Greek myth of Perseus to life.

The Art of Indonesia: Tales from the Shadow World, 1990

This captivating documentary about the rituals, myths, and traditions of Indonesia incorporates Old Javanese poetry, sculpture, and music alongside performances by traditional artists and healers.

A black and white image of a man wearing an ornate robe

Tapestries and How They Are Made, 1933

Warps, wefts, heddles, and leashes: Learn how tapestries were made, across time and across cultures, in this mesmerizing short film.

The Cathedral of Chartres, 1970

This lyrical portrait of the Cathedral of Chartres was produced for the 1970 exhibition The Year 1200, a centerpiece of The Met’s centennial celebration.

A Look at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976—The Hidden World of Ray Cusie

This impressionistic visual diary is a quirky love letter to the Museum featuring long-time employee and artist Ray Cusie.

Water Stone, 1987—Installing Isamu Noguchi’s Iconic Sculpture

This short documentary follows the custom installation of Isamu Noguchi’s beloved sculpture Water Stone and offers a special opportunity to witness a living artist interact with staff as their work is prepared for display.

Behind the Scenes: The Working Side of the Museum, 1928

Sumptuously shot in richly contrasting black and white, this lyrical series of vignettes provides a window into the hidden workings of the Museum.

Metropolitan Cats, 1983—A History of Cats at The Met

From ancient Chinese sculpture to the modern Broadway stage, cats have long been a source of inspiration for artists.

The Hunt of the Unicorn, 1974

Produced for the 1974 exhibition Masterpieces of Tapestry, this short form recounts the tale depicted in “The Unicorn Tapestries” and explains the symbolic meaning of these mythic creatures, including their purifying and restorative powers.

A Visit to the Armor Galleries, 1924

In the 1920s The Met began to explore filmmaking as part of its educational program, and in 1924 it released two films about Arms and Armor.

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GIF of eighties version of Met logo, animated architecture zooming out to reveal computerized Met Fifth Avenue building