Heroes

Security manager Jose Rivero contemplates the different types of hero archetypes, from comic book super heroes to religious figures.

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I was born in Cuba, so I was bombarded by propaganda posters and photographs. Everywhere you'd go there would be posters of heroic people.

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  • Jose Rivero
    1280852
  • Illustrated Legends of the Kitano Shrine (Kitano Tenjin Engi)  |  Kamakura period, 13th century  |  Unidentified artist  |  Japan  |  Handscroll; ink and color on paper  |  Fletcher Fund, 1925 (25.224a–e)
    1280707
  • Illustrated Legends of the Kitano Shrine (Kitano Tenjin Engi)  |  Kamakura period, 13th century  |  Unidentified artist  |  Japan  |  Handscroll; ink and color on paper  |  Fletcher Fund, 1925 (25.224a–e)
    1280717
  • On the Southern Plains  |  1907  |  Frederic Remington (American)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Gift of Several Gentlemen, 1911 (11.192)
    1280754
  • Versailles, France  |  1923  |  Eugène Atget (French)  |  Albumen silver print from glass negative  |  The Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr. Memorial and David Hunter McAlpin Funds, and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift through Joyce and Robert Menschel, and Paul F. Walter, and Mr. and Mrs. John Walsh Gifts, 1992 (1992.5152)
    12521024
  • The Death of Socrates  |  1787  |  Jacques-Louis David (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1931 (31.45)
    1280843
  • Perseus with the Head of Medusa  |  1804–6  |  Antonio Canova (Italian)  |  Marble  |  Fletcher Fund, 1967 (67.110.1)
    8561024
  • [National Opera House and the Inglaterra Hotel from Across Central Park, Havana, Cuba]  |  1933  |  Walker Evans (American)  |  Film negative  |  Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.251.518)
    6181024
  • Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom  |  2000  |  Anselm Kiefer (German)  |  Gouache, sand, ash and charcoal on two torn and pasted photographs  |  Joseph H. Hazen Foundation Purchase Fund, 2001 (2001.557)
    6161024
  • [People Waiting for Food Rations, Havana]  |  1933  |  Walker Evans (American)  |  Film negative  |  Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.251.654)
    1280779
  • Coal Dock Workers, Havana  |  1933  |  Walker Evans (American)  |  Gelatin silver print  |  Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1990 (1990.1143)
    1280921
  • [Diego Rivera's Fresco "In the Trenches," Ministry of Education, Mexico City]  |  1924–28  |  Tina Modotti (Italian)  |  Gelatin silver print with applied color  |  Purchase, Throckmorton Fine Art Inc. Gift and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1995 (1995.367)
    8001024
  • Washington Crossing the Delaware  |  1851  |  Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (German, active United States)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Gift of John Stewart Kennedy, 1897 (97.34)
    1280735
  • [Showing "Six Hours to Live", Havana]  |  1933, printed ca. 1970  |  Walker Evans (American)  |  Gelatin silver print  |  Gift of Arnold H. Crane, 1971 (1971.646.12)
    1280974
  • Portrait of a Warrior  |  Momoyama period, late 16th century  |  Unidentified artist (Japanese)  |  Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk  |  Purchase, 2003 Benefit Fund, 2004 (2004.309)
    6241024
  • The Baptism of Christ  |  1592  |  Jacopo Bassano (Jacopo da Ponte) (Italian)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Private collection (L.2009.6)
    8311024
  • Christ Crowned with Thorns  |  1470  |  Antonello da Messina (Antonello di Giovanni d'Antonio) (Italian)  |  Oil, perhaps over tempera, on wood  |  The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931 (32.100.82)
    7131024
  • Column-krater (bowl for mixing wine and water)  |  ca. 350–320 b.c.; red-figure  |  Attributed to the Group of Boston 00.348  |  Greek, South Italian, Apulian  |  Terracotta  |  Rogers Fund, 1950 (50.11.4)
    8091024
  • Buddha, probably Amitabha (Amituo)  |  Tang dynasty, early 7th century  |  China  |  Dry lacquer with traces of gilt and pigment  |  Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.186)
    8301024
  • Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja)  |  Chola period, ca. 11th century  |  Tamil Nadu, India  |  Copper alloy  |  Gift of R. H. Ellsworth Ltd., in honor of Susan Dillon, 1987 (1987.80.1)
    8171024
  • The Denial of Saint Peter  |  1624  |  Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi) (Italian)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Gift of Herman and Lila Shickman, and Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1997 (1997.167)
    1280948
  • Jose Rivero
    1280852
  • My name is Jose Rivero, and I'm a security manager here at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. And my topic is heroes.

  • Salman Rushdie says that the telling and receiving of stories is a part of human nature and that that instinct

  • is hardwired into our DNA. Basically, he says we're storytelling animals.

  • I've always loved movies; I loved cowboy movies, I loved the samurai movies

  • ancient Rome, you know Steve Reeves. I've always loved comic books. And, as I got older, I really developed myself drawing

  • what I now know were storyboards, but I didn't know until I went to art school that that's what I was drawing, kind of cinematic compositions of these heroes. They were always

  • handsome and beautiful and muscular and doing the right thing, empathetic, cool, and stoic and you know, things that were very attractive to me as a kid.

  • I was born in Cuba, so I was bombarded by propaganda posters and photographs. Everywhere you'd go there would be these

  • posters of people from all different parts of the world, heroic people with strong leaders, representing various revolutions that had taken place over the last ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty years. I didn't fall for the political message.

  • When I would go home, my parents, my grandparents would tell me exactly the opposite of what I had been told in school. They talked about how great

  • it would be to someday come to the United States, and about abundance in the United States, but yet

  • it made for great visuals. The artistic expression of those posters had great merit and had great attraction to me as a child and I'm sure to many others. You know, not unlike

  • Washington Crossing the Delaware. I mean, here's this strong leader with the heroes on the ship fighting through the weather and the conditions to fight a revolution.

  • As a child, because of the blockade in Cuba, new western films didn't come into the Cuban theaters, so in order to replace them they put

  • samurai movies. The Portrait of the Warrior, I think of Toshiro Mifune in the movies, the samurai is stroking his beard, he looks confident. He's armed and he seems very strong, yet relaxed.

  • What seems to me to be one of the most influential if not the most influential story of our times is the story of Christ. I've learned most of the story by looking at paintings –annunciation, lamentations, denials, baptisms.

  • Da Messina just, he simply does a portrait of Christ with a crown of thorns. And Christ is Sicilian-looking, he's south-Italian looking. It's a straight-on portrait, he does it with a dark background, Christ from the chest up, with a very sad, hurt-looking face. It's simple, and it's telling a very powerful part of that story.

  • I studied painting illustration at the School of Visual Arts here in New York, and when I was younger I was much more into, into, like, these perfect heroes, these, you know propaganda poster heroes, these very muscular physical presences.

  • The Buddha is something that I appreciate much more now as a hero, like the Christ figure, who is vulnerable, who is capable of having pain inflicted upon him, who is trying very hard to be the best example of humankind but who is still human. And this piece represents that very well. It is damaged; the hands aren't there. There's a lot of abrasion to the piece. So not only is the Buddha vulnerable, but the sculpture itself is vulnerable.

  • In every one of these, it's fine art, it's much more than an illustration, but the artist, through the composition and through the action of the individuals

  • has chosen them just at the right moment and shown them in just the right way, from the right angle, that you don't need the title, you don't need to know who the characters are

  • to tell the story.

  • 25.224
    Illustrated Legends of the Kitano Shrine (Kitano Tenjin Engi), Kamakura period, 13th century, Unidentified artist, Japan, Handscroll; ink and color on paper Fletcher Fund, 1925 (25.224a–e)
  • 11.192
    On the Southern Plains, 1907, Frederic Remington (American), Oil on canvas Gift of Several Gentlemen, 1911 (11.192)
  • 1992.5152
    Versailles, France, 1923, Eugène Atget (French), Albumen silver print from glass negative The Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr. Memorial and David Hunter McAlpin Funds, and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift through Joyce and Robert Menschel, and Paul F. Walter, and Mr. and Mrs. John Walsh Gifts, 1992 (1992.5152)
  • 31.45
    The Death of Socrates, 1787, Jacques-Louis David (French), Oil on canvas Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1931 (31.45)
  • 67.110.1
    Perseus with the Head of Medusa, 1804–6, Antonio Canova (Italian), Marble Fletcher Fund, 1967 (67.110.1)
  • 1994.251.518
    [National Opera House and the Inglaterra Hotel from Across Central Park, Havana, Cuba], 1933, Walker Evans (American), Film negative Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.251.518)
  • 2001.557
    Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom, 2000, Anselm Kiefer (German), Gouache, sand, ash and charcoal on two torn and pasted photographs Joseph H. Hazen Foundation Purchase Fund, 2001 (2001.557)
  • 1994.251.654
    [People Waiting for Food Rations, Havana], 1933, Walker Evans (American), Film negative Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.251.654)
  • 1990.1143
    Coal Dock Workers, Havana, 1933, Walker Evans (American), Gelatin silver print Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1990 (1990.1143)
  • 1995.367
    [Diego Rivera's Fresco "In the Trenches," Ministry of Education, Mexico City], 1924–28, Tina Modotti (Italian), Gelatin silver print with applied color Purchase, Throckmorton Fine Art Inc. Gift and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1995 (1995.367)
  • 97.34
    Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1851, Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (German, active United States), Oil on canvas Gift of John Stewart Kennedy, 1897 (97.34)
  • 1971.646.12
    [Showing "Six Hours to Live", Havana], 1933, printed ca. 1970, Walker Evans (American), Gelatin silver print Gift of Arnold H. Crane, 1971 (1971.646.12)
  • 2004.309
    Portrait of a Warrior, Momoyama period, late 16th century, Unidentified artist (Japanese), Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk Purchase, 2003 Benefit Fund, 2004 (2004.309)
  • L.2009.6
    The Baptism of Christ, 1592, Jacopo Bassano (Jacopo da Ponte) (Italian), Oil on canvas Private collection (L.2009.6)
  • 32.100.82
    Christ Crowned with Thorns, 1470, Antonello da Messina (Antonello di Giovanni d'Antonio) (Italian), Oil, perhaps over tempera, on wood The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931 (32.100.82)
  • 50.11.4
    Column-krater (bowl for mixing wine and water), ca. 350–320 b.c.; red-figure, Attributed to the Group of Boston 00.348, Greek, South Italian, Apulian, Terracotta Rogers Fund, 1950 (50.11.4)
  • 19.186
    Buddha, probably Amitabha (Amituo), Tang dynasty, early 7th century, China, Dry lacquer with traces of gilt and pigment Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.186)
  • 1987.80.1
    Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja), Chola period, ca. 11th century, Tamil Nadu, India, Copper alloy Gift of R. H. Ellsworth Ltd., in honor of Susan Dillon, 1987 (1987.80.1)
  • 1997.167
    The Denial of Saint Peter, 1624, Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi) (Italian), Oil on canvas Gift of Herman and Lila Shickman, and Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1997 (1997.167)
  • Illustrated Legends of the Kitano Shrine (Kitano Tenjin Engi), Kamakura period, 13th century, Unidentified artist, Japan, Handscroll; ink and color on paper Fletcher Fund, 1925 (25.224a–e)
    On the Southern Plains, 1907, Frederic Remington (American), Oil on canvas Gift of Several Gentlemen, 1911 (11.192)
    Versailles, France, 1923, Eugène Atget (French), Albumen silver print from glass negative The Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr. Memorial and David Hunter McAlpin Funds, and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift through Joyce and Robert Menschel, and Paul F. Walter, and Mr. and Mrs. John Walsh Gifts, 1992 (1992.5152)
    The Death of Socrates, 1787, Jacques-Louis David (French), Oil on canvas Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1931 (31.45)
    Perseus with the Head of Medusa, 1804–6, Antonio Canova (Italian), Marble Fletcher Fund, 1967 (67.110.1)
    [National Opera House and the Inglaterra Hotel from Across Central Park, Havana, Cuba], 1933, Walker Evans (American), Film negative Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.251.518)
    Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom, 2000, Anselm Kiefer (German), Gouache, sand, ash and charcoal on two torn and pasted photographs Joseph H. Hazen Foundation Purchase Fund, 2001 (2001.557)
    [People Waiting for Food Rations, Havana], 1933, Walker Evans (American), Film negative Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.251.654)
    Coal Dock Workers, Havana, 1933, Walker Evans (American), Gelatin silver print Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1990 (1990.1143)
    [Diego Rivera's Fresco "In the Trenches," Ministry of Education, Mexico City], 1924–28, Tina Modotti (Italian), Gelatin silver print with applied color Purchase, Throckmorton Fine Art Inc. Gift and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1995 (1995.367)
    Washington Crossing the Delaware, 1851, Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (German, active United States), Oil on canvas Gift of John Stewart Kennedy, 1897 (97.34)
    [Showing "Six Hours to Live", Havana], 1933, printed ca. 1970, Walker Evans (American), Gelatin silver print Gift of Arnold H. Crane, 1971 (1971.646.12)
    Portrait of a Warrior, Momoyama period, late 16th century, Unidentified artist (Japanese), Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk Purchase, 2003 Benefit Fund, 2004 (2004.309)
    The Baptism of Christ, 1592, Jacopo Bassano (Jacopo da Ponte) (Italian), Oil on canvas Private collection (L.2009.6)
    Christ Crowned with Thorns, 1470, Antonello da Messina (Antonello di Giovanni d'Antonio) (Italian), Oil, perhaps over tempera, on wood The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931 (32.100.82)
    Column-krater (bowl for mixing wine and water), ca. 350–320 b.c.; red-figure, Attributed to the Group of Boston 00.348, Greek, South Italian, Apulian, Terracotta Rogers Fund, 1950 (50.11.4)
    Buddha, probably Amitabha (Amituo), Tang dynasty, early 7th century, China, Dry lacquer with traces of gilt and pigment Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.186)
    Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja), Chola period, ca. 11th century, Tamil Nadu, India, Copper alloy Gift of R. H. Ellsworth Ltd., in honor of Susan Dillon, 1987 (1987.80.1)
    The Denial of Saint Peter, 1624, Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi) (Italian), Oil on canvas Gift of Herman and Lila Shickman, and Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1997 (1997.167)
    8000–2000 B.C.
    2000–1000 B.C.
    1000 B.C.–1 A.D.
    1–500 A.D.
    500–1000 A.D.
    1000–1400 A.D.
    1400–1600 A.D.
    1600–1800 A.D.
    1800–1900 A.D.
    1900–Present

    Works of art in order of appearance

    Last Updated: August 19, 2013. Not all works of art in the Museum's collection may be on view on a particular day. For the most accurate location information, please check this page on the day of your visit.

    Illustrated Legends of the Kitano Shrine (Kitano Tenjin Engi)
    Kamakura period, 13th century
    Unidentified artist
    Japan
    Handscroll; ink and color on paper
    Fletcher Fund, 1925 (25.224a–e)
    Not on view
    Asian ArtSecond Floor
    On the Southern Plains
    1907
    Frederic Remington (American)
    Oil on canvas
    Gift of Several Gentlemen, 1911 (11.192)
    On view: Gallery 765
    American Paintings and SculptureFirst and Second Floors
    Versailles, France
    1923
    Eugène Atget (French)
    Albumen silver print from glass negative
    The Samuel J. Wagstaff Jr. Memorial and David Hunter McAlpin Funds, and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift through Joyce and Robert Menschel, and Paul F. Walter, and Mr. and Mrs. John Walsh Gifts, 1992 (1992.5152)
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    The Death of Socrates
    1787
    Jacques-Louis David (French)
    Oil on canvas
    Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1931 (31.45)
    On view: Gallery 614
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Perseus with the Head of Medusa
    1804–6
    Antonio Canova (Italian)
    Marble
    Fletcher Fund, 1967 (67.110.1)
    On view: Gallery 548
    European Sculpture and Decorative ArtsFirst Floor
    [National Opera House and the Inglaterra Hotel from Across Central Park, Havana, Cuba]
    1933
    Walker Evans (American)
    Film negative
    Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.251.518)
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom
    2000
    Anselm Kiefer (German)
    Gouache, sand, ash and charcoal on two torn and pasted photographs
    Joseph H. Hazen Foundation Purchase Fund, 2001 (2001.557)
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    [People Waiting for Food Rations, Havana]
    1933
    Walker Evans (American)
    Film negative
    Walker Evans Archive, 1994 (1994.251.654)
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    Coal Dock Workers, Havana
    1933
    Walker Evans (American)
    Gelatin silver print
    Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1990 (1990.1143)
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    [Diego Rivera's Fresco "In the Trenches," Ministry of Education, Mexico City]
    1924–28
    Tina Modotti (Italian)
    Gelatin silver print with applied color
    Purchase, Throckmorton Fine Art Inc. Gift and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1995 (1995.367)
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    Washington Crossing the Delaware
    1851
    Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (German, active United States)
    Oil on canvas
    Gift of John Stewart Kennedy, 1897 (97.34)
    On view: Gallery 760
    American Paintings and SculptureFirst and Second Floors
    [Showing "Six Hours to Live", Havana]
    1933, printed ca. 1970
    Walker Evans (American)
    Gelatin silver print
    Gift of Arnold H. Crane, 1971 (1971.646.12)
    Not on view
    PhotographsSecond Floor
    Portrait of a Warrior
    Momoyama period, late 16th century
    Unidentified artist (Japanese)
    Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
    Purchase, 2003 Benefit Fund, 2004 (2004.309)
    Not on view
    Asian ArtSecond Floor
    The Baptism of Christ
    1592
    Jacopo Bassano (Jacopo da Ponte) (Italian)
    Oil on canvas
    Private collection (L.2009.6)
    On view: Gallery 607
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Christ Crowned with Thorns
    1470
    Antonello da Messina (Antonello di Giovanni d'Antonio) (Italian)
    Oil, perhaps over tempera, on wood
    The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931 (32.100.82)
    On view: Gallery 606
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Column-krater (bowl for mixing wine and water)
    ca. 350–320 b.c.; red-figure
    Attributed to the Group of Boston 00.348
    Greek, South Italian, Apulian
    Terracotta
    Rogers Fund, 1950 (50.11.4)
    On view: Gallery 160
    Greek and Roman ArtFirst Floor and Mezzanine
    Buddha, probably Amitabha (Amituo)
    Tang dynasty, early 7th century
    China
    Dry lacquer with traces of gilt and pigment
    Rogers Fund, 1919 (19.186)
    On view: Gallery 208
    Asian ArtSecond Floor
    Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja)
    Chola period, ca. 11th century
    Tamil Nadu, India
    Copper alloy
    Gift of R. H. Ellsworth Ltd., in honor of Susan Dillon, 1987 (1987.80.1)
    On view: Gallery 240
    Asian ArtSecond Floor
    The Denial of Saint Peter
    1624
    Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi) (Italian)
    Oil on canvas
    Gift of Herman and Lila Shickman, and Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1997 (1997.167)
    On view: Gallery 621
    European PaintingsSecond Floor

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