My first introduction to the Metropolitan Museum was through a portfolio drawing class I took in 2010. I think it would be fair to say that the course was the reason I stuck around as a member of the Teen Advisory Group, and thus the reason I'm writing this blog post today.
This past December I had the good fortune to drop in for Saturday Sketching in the Carroll and Milton Petrie European Sculpture Court, and I was reminded why I liked drawing at the Met so much. It really forces you to see stuff. And I mean "forces" in the best possible way.
Because the Museum is just so mammoth, and because of its positively encyclopedic nature (I mean, walking through the Met is like experiencing a real-life art history textbook), it's easy to buzz through the galleries unaware of most of the art around you. But when you've placed yourself in front of a work of art with a pad of paper and writing implement, you immediately have to ask yourself "What am I going to do?" Since you possess the natural human urge to make something—and to make something nice—you problem solve. You look at the object, hack it out on paper until it becomes something you think is halfway alright, and along the way you get to know it. Drawing a work of art is like a courting process; you take it out to dinner and a movie, and you see what makes it tick. And through that process, you notice details you wouldn't have noticed before. Plus, at the end, you have something that you created to show for it.