Rather than visit a temporary exhibition at The Met this week, we have a different suggestion: dip into the permanent collection, more specifically the bright rooms filled with Greek and Roman art. Late-summer light pours in through glass ceilings and tall windows, bouncing off marble and limestone sculptures, highlighting smooth curves and coarse edges.
Whether your classics knowledge is minimal (like mine) or extensive (like my brother’s), The Met’s works (all 17,000 of them) will amaze and intrigue. Cabinets of delicate gold-leaf crowns perch alongside painted vases, while oversized bronze statues tower over you. Marble gods and goddesses stand proudly side by side and intricate mosaics mesmerize even the most reluctant of passers-by.
If you can, visit with a classics buff who will educate you on the deities, emperors and symbolism. If you can’t, be prepared to leave with a whole host of names, places and myths to read up on, as well as total incredulity at how these sculptures carved out of marble in 200BC could be so intricate, powerful and uber-realistic. Luckily for us, they’ve (mostly) stood the test of time.
The Met Fifth Avenue, 1000 Fifth Ave, New York, NY 10028.