by Salvatore Viviano ’19
It would be ignorant if I were to write this article with the assumption that the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or “the Met”, was a completely unknown public work. However, it often has to compete for New Yorkers’ attention with other great New York museums, such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Natural History, and the Whitney Museum. The Met is unique from these museum because of its huge range of artwork, sheer volume of artifacts, and its accessibility.
The Met houses artwork from civilizations as early as the Mesopotamian city of Ur, to more contemporary pieces. It has art in many different mediums, such as sculptures and paintings. However, the Met doesn’t restrict its collection to the more traditional art forms; it also houses an impressive collection of weapons, jewelry and musical instruments, including many notable pieces from renowned Luthiers such as Antonio Stradivari and the Amati family.
With a collection of over two million pieces, the Met is the largest art museum in the United States. However what is most unique about it is its wide accessibility. It has no fixed admission price, and one can pay as little as one cent to get in (although it is not recommended).
When at the Met most recently, I was extremely humbled when I realized that I was in the presence of paintings that dated back to the 1600s—paintings that were created by great artists such as Rembrandt and David. We are privileged as New Yorkers to have access to such venerable pieces of artwork, and it would be a shame to not take advantage of the opportunity that every one of us has.