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  • The Costume Institute

    The Costume Institute’s collection of more than thirty-five thousand costumes and accessories represents five continents and seven centuries of fashionable dress, regional costumes, and accessories for men, women, and children, from the fifteenth century to the present.

  • Greek and Roman Art

    History of the Department
    Although the Department of Greek and Roman Art (originally the Department of Classical Art) was not formally established until 1909, the art of ancient Greece and Rome has figured prominently in The Metropolitan Museum of Art from the time of its founding in 1870. The very first object to enter the Museum's collection was an impressive Roman sarcophagus that occupies a prominent place today in the New Greek and Roman Galleries that opened in April 2007. Among the largest groups of works to enter the fledgling institution after this inaugural acquisition were the several thousand Cypriot antiquities purchased by subscription (in two installments, 1874 and 1876) from General Luigi Palma di Cesnola, who subsequently served as the Metropolitan's first director, from 1879 to 1904. Four rooms devoted to Cypriot art are located on the second floor of the Museum, and many other pieces from the collection are displayed throughout the Greek and Roman galleries.

  • Egyptian Art

    The Department of Egyptian Art was established in 1906 to oversee The Metropolitan Museum of Art's ancient Egyptian collection, which had been growing since 1874. Today, after more than a century of collecting and excavating, the collection has become one of the finest and most comprehensive in the world.

  • Arms and Armor

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art received its first examples of arms and armor in 1896. Thanks to a substantial group of Japanese arms and armor and a major private collection of European arms and armor, both acquired by purchase in 1904, the Museum's collection quickly achieved international recognition. This led to the establishment of a separate Department of Arms and Armor in 1912, which remains the only one of its kind in the United States. Always among the Museum's most popular attractions, the Arms and Armor Galleries were renovated and reinstalled in 1991 to better display the outstanding collection of armor and weapons of sculptural and ornamental beauty from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and America. The collection ranks with the other great armories of the world, in Vienna, Madrid, Dresden, and Paris.

  • The Great Hall of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    The Great Hall has been the majestic main entry of The Metropolitan Museum of Art for more than a century. When it opened to the public in December 1902, the Evening Post newspaper reported that at last New York had a neoclassical palace of art, "one of the finest in the world, and the only public building in recent years which approaches in dignity and grandeur the museums of the old world." Architect Richard Morris Hunt, who was one of the founding trustees of the Metropolitan and the most fashionable architect of his day, designed both the Museum's classical Beaux-Arts Fifth Avenue façade and the Great Hall, which now greets more than five million visitors each year. Hunt did not live to see the project completed—after his death in 1895, his son Richard Howland Hunt carried out the final stages of work.

  • Medieval Art and The Cloisters

    The Middle Ages, the period between ancient and modern times in Western civilization, extends from the fourth to the early 16th century—that is, roughly from the Fall of Rome to the beginning of the Renaissance in Northern Europe. The Metropolitan Museum's collection of medieval art, one of the richest in the world, encompasses the art of this long and complex period in all its many phases, from its pre-Christian antecedents in western Europe through early medieval, the Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic periods. The Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, established in 1933, oversees both the collection in the Museum's main building on Fifth Avenue and that of The Cloisters in northern Manhattan.

  • Photographs

    Established as an independent curatorial department in 1992, the Metropolitan Museum's Department of Photographs houses a collection of more than 20,000 works acquired by the Museum over 80 years.

  • Islamic Art

    The Metropolitan Museum's collection of Islamic art is the most comprehensive in the world. It includes more than 12,000 of the finest objects, dating from the seventh to the 20th century and reflecting the cultural and geographic sweep of historic Islamic civilization, which extends as far west as Spain, Morocco, and Senegal and as far east as India, Southeast Asia, and China. Outstanding holdings include the collections of glass and metalwork from Egypt, Syria, and Mesopotamia; more than 450 Islamic carpets—the largest collection in the United States, including a 16th-century Egyptian carpet in emerald green and wine red that is a masterpiece of Mamluk design and some 3,000 textiles; pages from a sumptuous copy of the Shahnama, or Book of Kings, created for Shah Tahmasp (1514-76), and other outstanding royal miniatures from the courts of Persia and Mughal India; and a 14th-century glazed ceramic mihrab, or prayer niche, from a theological school in Isfahan.

  • Ancient Near East

    The Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art was formed in 1956, although the first objects to enter the collection—cuneiform tablets and stamp and cylinder seals—were acquired in the late 1800s.

  • The American Wing

    The American Wing houses one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of American art in existence—more than 15,000 paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts objects—all of which are accessible to the public on four floors of gallery and study areas. It also features one of the Museum's loveliest and most popular spaces, The Charles Engelhard Court, a glassed-in garden featuring large-scale American sculptures, leaded-glass windows, and other architectural elements.

  • An Overview of the Museum

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world's largest and finest art museums. Its collections include more than two million works of art spanning 5,000 years of world culture, from prehistory to the present and from every part of the globe.

  • Modern Art
    Lila Acheson Wallace Wing

    Since its founding in 1870 the Metropolitan Museum has been concerned with the art of its own time as well as that of the past. In 1906 and 1911 funds established by George A. Hearn particularly encouraged acquisitions of works by contemporary American painters. During the first decades of the 20th century fewer examples by European artists were acquired, but certain purchases are notable. Among these were Renoir's Mme Georges Charpentier and Her Children (1879) acquired in 1907 and Cézanne's View of the Domain Saint Joseph (1889) acquired from the Armory Show in 1913. Monet died in 1926. In the same year the Museum received its first gift of one of his paintings, and in 1929 the extraordinary bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer included an additional eight.

  • European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

    The Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts has evolved from one that was established as a repository of decorative art in 1907, during the presidency of J. Pierpont Morgan. Today it is responsible for a comprehensive and important historical collection, one of the Metropolitan Museum's largest, reflecting the development of art in the major Western European countries.

  • Drawings and Prints

    In 1880 Cornelius Vanderbilt presented to the Metropolitan Museum 670 drawings by or attributed to European Old Masters. In its early decades, the collection of drawings grew slowly through purchase, gift, and bequest. Among notable acquisitions of this period were major drawings by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Rembrandt. In 1935, the Museum purchased an album of 50 sheets by Goya, while more than 100 works, mostly by Venetian artists of the 18th century, were acquired from the marquis de Biron in 1937. It was not until 1960 that the Department of Drawings was established as a separate curatorial area of the Museum with Jacob Bean as its first curator. During the next 30 years, the department's holdings nearly doubled in size; the collection is known particularly for its works by Italian and French artists of the 15th through the 19th century.

  • A Brief History of the Museum

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by a group of American citizens – businessmen and financiers as well as leading arists and thinkers of the day – who wanted to create a museum to bring art and art education to the American people.

  • Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

    Nearly 1,600 objects from Africa, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas are on view in The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Michael C. Rockefeller Wing. They span 3,000 years, three continents, and many islands, and represent a rich diversity of cultural traditions.

  • European Paintings

    The Museum's collection of Old Master and 19th-century European paintings – one of the greatest such collections in existence – numbers approximately 2,500 works, dozens of which are instantly recognizable worldwide. The French, Italian, Flemish, and Dutch schools are most strongly represented, with fine works also by British and Spanish masters.

  • Asian Art

    The Asian collection at the Metropolitan Museum is the largest and most comprehensive in the West. Each of the many civilizations of Asia is represented by outstanding works that provide – in both quality and breadth – an unrivaled experience of the artistic traditions of nearly half the world. The collection, which ranges in date from the second millennium B.C. to the early 20th century, includes paintings, woodblock prints, sculptures, metalwork, ceramics, lacquers, decorative arts, and textiles from China, Korea, and Japan, as well as the countries of South and Southeast Asia. Since the Museum's centennial in 1970, the department has been engaged in expanding its staff, collections, and display space. This process culminated in 1998 with the completion of an entire wing, occupying 64,500 square feet, devoted to Asian art – a "museum within a museum."

  • Musical Instruments

    The musical instruments collection at the Metropolitan Museum originated with gifts in 1889 of several hundred European, American, and non-Western instruments from private collectors Joseph W. Drexel and Mrs. John Crosby Brown. Mrs. Brown continued to give musical instruments to the Museum until her death in 1918, by which time some 4,000 items had been catalogued and placed on display, making the assemblage the largest and most comprehensive of its kind outside Europe.

  • The Robert Lehman Collection

    The Robert Lehman Collection – numbering nearly 3,000 works of art and one of the most extraordinary private art collections ever assembled in the United States – was presented to the Metropolitan Museum by the Robert Lehman Foundation in 1969, following Mr. Lehman's death. The collection was assembled by Mr. Lehman and his parents, and is housed today in The Robert Lehman Wing, which opened to the public in 1975, and which contains galleries that were specially designed to reflect the ambience of the Lehman house in New York City.