Friday, 28 October 2016

New York 4: Met and Central Park

There's something exciting about seeing famous paintings, even if you've seen pictures of the pictures a thousand times.  I guess it's the same thing that pop-culture people feel when they see celebrities. The Metropolitan Museum is full of art-history celebrities, throughout its 800-and-something rooms.  Drawing them helps me slow down and look, and avoid complete oversaturation.  I should be done the whole collection in about 5,000 more visits.

One room has 4 Vermeers, of the 36 or so total (although one of them was fairly unimpressive - I hope they have a good provenance for it...).  Along with a few other paintings by Dutch contemporaries, the small room held what I figure would be over 500 million dollars worth of art.  Which totaled about 20 square feet of canvas - 25 million dollars per square foot, even more than most Manhattan apartments.

I also admired Picasso's portrait of Gertrude Stein, mainly for a story about it that I have repeated often: Someone saw the picture after Picasso had finished it, and said, "That doesn't look like Gertrude Stein."  Picasso replied "It will."  It does show Picasso's "self-confidence".  But it is also a good lesson - once the model is gone, or you leave the street scene, all that's left is the picture.  So you should make it what you want it to be, not just what is actually in front of you.  This is also a good consolation when someone's drawing goes really wrong.

Central Park is one of the saving graces of New York.  We ended up there a couple times, like an over-stimulated child sent for a time-out.  The view from the Met roof is a good one, and from the belvedere lookout over the turtle pond and amphitheatre.

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