Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Coordinates: 40°46′46″N 73°57′48″W / 40.77944°N 73.96333°W / 40.77944; -73.96333

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Entrance façades of the Met Fifth Avenue and of The Cloisters
EstablishedApril 13, 1870; 152 years ago (April 13, 1870)[2][3][4]
Location1000 Fifth Avenue and
99 Margaret Corbin Drive
New York, NY 10028
Coordinates40°46′46″N 73°57′47″W / 40.7794°N 73.9631°W / 40.7794; -73.9631
Collection size2 million[1]
Visitors1,958,000 (2021)[5]
DirectorMax Hollein Edit this at Wikidata

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in

medieval Europe

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 with its mission to bring art and art education to the American people. The museum's permanent collection consists of works of art from

armor from around the world. Several notable interiors, ranging from 1st-century Rome
through modern American design, are installed in its galleries.


The Met's permanent collection is curated by seventeen separate departments, each with a specialized staff of

armor from around the world.[8] A great number of period rooms, ranging from first-century Rome through modern American design, are permanently installed in the Met's galleries.[9]
In addition to its permanent exhibitions, the Met organizes and hosts large traveling shows throughout the year.

Geographically designated collections

Ancient Near Eastern art

Beginning in the late 19th century, the Met started acquiring ancient art and artifacts from the

Late Antiquity, the collection includes works from the Sumerian, Hittite, Sasanian, Assyrian, Babylonian, and Elamite cultures (among others), as well as an extensive collection of unique Bronze Age objects. The highlights of the collection include a set of monumental stone lamassu, or guardian figures, from the Northwest Palace of the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II.[11]

Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Though the Met first acquired a group of

philanthropist Nelson A. Rockefeller donated his more than 3,000-piece collection to the museum. Before Rockefeller's collection existed at the Met, Rockefeller founded The Museum of Primitive Art in New York City with the intentions of displaying these works, after the Met had previously shown disinterest in his art collection.[12] In 1968, the Met had agreed to a temporary exhibition of Rockefeller's work. However, the Met then requested to include the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas in their personal collection and on permanent display.[12] The arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas opened to the public in 1982, under the title, "The Michael C. Rockefeller Wing".[13] This wing is named after Nelson Rockefeller's son, Michael Rockefeller, who died while collecting works in New Guinea.[14]

Today, the Met's collection contains more than 11,000 pieces from

Pacific Islands, and the Americas and is housed in the 40,000-square-foot (4,000 m2) Rockefeller Wing on the south end of the museum.[15] The Wing exhibits Non-Western works of art created from 3,000 BCE – present, while at the same time displays a wide range of cultural histories.[13] This is considered to be the first time arts outside of the West were placed alongside Western art in a Western museum. Before then, the works of art from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas were considered art of the "primitives" or ethnographic objects.[16]

The Wing exhibits the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas in an exhibition separated by geographical locations. The collection ranges from 40,000-year-old

Court of Benin donated by Klaus Perls.[17] The range of materials represented in the Africa, Oceania, and Americas collection is undoubtedly the widest of any department at the Met, including everything from precious metals to porcupine quills.[citation needed] The Michael C. Rockefeller Wing's exhibition space is planned to be renovated between 2020 and 2023.[18]

Curator of African Art Susan Mullin Vogel reported of a famous Benin artefact gained by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the year of 1972. The item was originally auctioned in April 1900 by a lieutenant named Augustus Pitt Rivers at the price of 37 Guineas.[19]

In December 2021, the Met began its $70 million renovation of the African, ancient American, and Oceanic art galleries, which is set for completion in 2024. Part of this 40,000 square-feet renovation will include the installation of a glass wall to better illuminate the galleries as well as featuring 3,000 new works.[20]

Asian art


The Met's Asian department holds a collection of Asian art, of more than 35,000 pieces,

garden court, modeled on a courtyard in the Master of the Nets Garden in Suzhou. Maxwell K. Hearn has been the current department chairman of Asian Art since 2011.[23]

Egyptian art

Though the majority of the Met's initial holdings of Egyptian art came from private collections, items uncovered during the museum's own archeological excavations, carried out between 1906 and 1941, constitute almost half of the current collection. More than 26,000 separate pieces of Egyptian art from the Paleolithic era through the Ptolemaic era constitute the Met's Egyptian collection, and almost all of them are on display in the museum's massive wing of 40 Egyptian galleries.[24] Among the most valuable pieces in the Met's Egyptian collection are 13 wooden models (of the total 24 models found together, 12 models and 1 offering bearer figure is at the Met, while the remaining 10 models and 1 offering bearer figure are in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo), discovered in a tomb in the Southern Asasif in western Thebes in 1920. These models depict, in unparalleled detail, a cross-section of Egyptian life in the early Middle Kingdom: boats, gardens, and scenes of daily life are represented in miniature. William the Faience Hippopotamus is a miniature shown at right.

However, the popular centerpiece of the Egyptian Art department continues to be the

Deir el-Bahri which date from the Lower Paleolithic period (between 300,000 and 75,000 BCE), are part of the Egyptian collection. The first curator was Albert Lythgoe, who directed several Egyptian excavations for the museum.[25] Since 2013 the curator has been Diana Craig Patch.[26]

In 2018, the museum built an exhibition around the golden-sheathed 1st-century BCE coffin of Nedjemankh, a high-ranking priest of the ram-headed god Heryshaf of Heracleopolis. Investigators determined that the artifact had been stolen in 2011 from Egypt, to which the museum has agreed to return it.[27]

European paintings

The Met's collection of European paintings numbers around 1,700 pieces.[28] The current curator in charge of the European Paintings department is Stephan Wolohojian.[29]

European sculpture and decorative arts

The European Sculpture and Decorative Arts collection is one of the largest departments at the Met, holding in excess of 50,000 separate pieces from the 15th through the early 20th centuries.

Bernini's Bacchanal, a cast of Rodin's The Burghers of Calais, and several unique pieces by Houdon, including his Bust of Voltaire and his famous portrait of his daughter Sabine.[31]

American Wing

The museum's collection of American art returned to view in new galleries on January 16, 2012. The new installation provides visitors with the history of American art from the 18th through the early 20th century. The new galleries encompasses 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2) for the display of the museum's collection.[32] The curator in charge of the American Wing since September 2014 is Sylvia Yount.[33][34]

Greek and Roman art

The Met's collection of Greek and Roman art contains more than 17,000 objects.[35] The Greek and Roman collection dates back to the founding of the museum—in fact, the museum's first accessioned object was a Roman sarcophagus, still currently on display.[36] Though the collection naturally concentrates on items from ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, these historical regions represent a wide range of cultures and artistic styles, from classic Greek black-figure and red-figure vases to carved Roman tunic pins.[37]

Highlights of the collection include the monumental Amathus sarcophagus and a magnificently detailed Etruscan chariot known as the "Monteleone chariot". The collection also contains many pieces from far earlier than the Greek or Roman empires—among the most remarkable are a collection of early Cycladic sculptures from the mid-third millennium BCE, many so abstract as to seem almost modern. The Greek and Roman galleries also contain several large classical wall paintings and reliefs from different periods, including an entire reconstructed bedroom from a noble villa in Boscoreale, excavated after its entombment by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE. In 2007, the Met's Greek and Roman galleries were expanded to approximately 60,000 square feet (6,000 m2), allowing the majority of the collection to be on permanent display.[38]

The Met has a growing corpus of digital assets that expand access to the collection beyond the physical museum. The interactive Met map provides an initial view of the collection as it can be experienced in the physical museum. The Greek and Roman Art department page provides a department overview and links to collection highlights and digital assets. The Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History provides a one thousand year overview of Greek art from 1000 BCE to 1 CE. More than 33,000 Greek and Roman objects can be referenced in the Met Digital Collection via a search engine.

Islamic art

Blue Qur'an
showing Chapter 30: 28–32