Scenes, Day One in New York, Part the Second

Filed under:It's My Life,Photoblogging — posted by Anwyn on June 13, 2007 @ 9:06 pm

The Met. My guidebook advised me to “pick one or two galleries and just see a few other things on your way to and from them so you don’t get burned out.” It’s good advice though disheartening if you ever want to see the whole or even most of the museum. I saw the Temple of Dendur:

and the American Wing, where I liked Winslow Homer somewhat less than I expected to and totally fell in love with one Elijah Boardman, as painted by Ralph Earl. The other American painters were uneven for me–no one painter got my unqualified recommendation, but I liked several of the individual works very much. I was amused by the information card for Washington Crossing the Delaware, though the blurb in the link is different from the one on the wall at the Met–did you know that painting was a success because it appealed to the strong feeling of nationalism in the country at the time? Silly me, I thought that sectionalism was by far the stronger force in the country in 1851, the time of the painting, and that its success might be due to the fact that nobody didn’t like George Washington, North or South.

My favorite painting may have been, ironically for the American Wing, of Queen Victoria, by Thomas Sully. Again the blurb in the link doesn’t match what’s on the wall, and the wall blurb was interesting. Paraphrased: “Sully chose the moment of her physical and literal ascension [in the finished painting, she was climbing the stairs to the throne] to show her humanity and femininity”–she looks beautiful and delicate, but strong.

What I really liked in the American Wing was the furniture, especially a little Greek Revival chair called a “klismos chair.” Greek Revival furniture was quite the thing during the Revolution and for a while afterward, and I enjoyed seeing the chairs again when I visited the Fraunces Tavern Museum the next day:

More tomorrow …

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace