Highlights Tour: New and Familiar Masterpieces

The Museum's permanent collection includes iconic works of art as well as some unexpected objects and places. Capturing the Museum's depth and breadth, this itinerary will lead you through galleries that range from quietly intimate and personal to dramatic and awe inspiring.

Tour stops (8)

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    Gubbio Studiolo

    The walls of this studiolo, or study room, are decorated with images made using wood inlay, or intarsia. This demanding and expensive technique involves cutting grained woods of different colors into thin pieces, or veneers, shaped according to the desired design and laid into a matrix. Optical illusions abound, such as the cabinet doors that appear to be ajar and the shadows seemingly cast by the legs of the benches. The decorative program of the studiolo reflects the personality of its powerful patron, Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino (1422–1482), whose interests included mathematics, music, and literature. His emblems, such as the ermine (a small animal symbolizing purity) and the ostrich with a spearhead in its beak (representing victory in the face of adversity), are incorporated in the decoration. Studioli became an increasingly important feature of Italian Renaissance palaces, providing their owners with an intimate retreat where they could engage in learned pursuits, keep their precious collections, and entertain important visitors.

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    Arms and Armor Gallery

    The Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Arms and Armor Court offers the most extensive selection in the United States of rare and finely made sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European armor for men and horses, created for kings and noblemen to use on the battlefield and in tournaments.

    The gallery features a group of elaborately decorated Greenwich armors, from the English Royal workshops founded by King Henry VIII, and one of Henry's personal armors, made in Italy and worn by the king in his last campaign against the French at Calais in 1544.

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    The Temple of Dendur

    The Temple of Dendur, a 1968 gift from Egypt to the United States in recognition of support given to save Egyptian monuments threatened by the rising waters of the Nile, was built around 15 B.C. when the Roman emperor Augustus ruled Egypt. Although small in comparison with the famous temples in Egypt, and built in Lower Nubia, south of Egypt's ancient border, this is a graceful example of a typical pharaonic temple.

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    Bernard van Orley, Last Supper

    Gallery 959 houses fifteenth-century central and northern Italian paintings as well as sixteenth-century Flemish tapestries, reflecting the dynamic cultural crosscurrents between northern and southern Europe during this period.

    On view is Bernaert Van Orley's Last Supper, one of the most important tapestries in America, which reveals the influence of both northern and southern sources. In a display case, among the three fifteenth-century Italian paintings of the Annunciation, is a small panel painted by Botticelli, probably commissioned as a private devotional image.

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    Female Dancer, Han Dynasty

    The Charlotte C. Weber Galleries house the Museum's collection of early Chinese art, whose dates span more than four millennia, from early Neolithic cultures in the third millennium B.C. to the end of the Tang dynasty in the tenth century. The permanent display presents a diverse variety of works, including pottery, jade carving, metalwork, lacquer, and wooden and stone sculpture, many of which are among the finest in the world. Also on view are bronze ornaments from the Eastern Eurasian steppes and Buddhist sculptures that illustrate China's frequent contact with its close and distant neighbors. The stunning selection of gilt-bronze images includes a unique altarpiece dated by inscription to 524.
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    Van Gogh, Wheatfield with Cypresses

    The Annenberg Collection (Galleries 821–823) includes more than fifty works by eighteen of the most renowned artists working in France during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, among them Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Picasso.

    The collection was assembled by Walter H. Annenberg (1908–2002) and his wife, Leonore Annenberg (1918–2009), over a period of four decades, beginning in the early 1950s. The Annenberg gift stipulates that the collection must be exhibited together and always remain on the premises of the Metropolitan Museum.

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    El Anatsui, Dusasa II

    This gallery offers a changing selection of international contemporary works.

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    Asmat Canoe

    The islands of the Pacific Ocean encompass nearly 1,800 distinct cultures and hundreds of artistic traditions in an area that covers over one-third of the Earth's surface. The galleries for Oceanic art are divided geographically into sections: Polynesia and Micronesia (Gallery 353); Melanesia (subdivided into two areas: New Guinea and Island Melanesia) and Australia (this gallery); and Island Southeast Asia (Gallery 355).

    New Guinea

    This section of the Melanesia gallery presents works from the island of New Guinea in the southwest Pacific. With more than eight hundred distinct peoples, New Guinea is the most culturally and artistically diverse island in Oceania. The displays survey the island’s major regional artistic traditions, including the arts of the Sepik River, Asmat region, Papuan Gulf, Cenderawasih Bay, Highlands, Lake Sentani, Massim, and other areas. A portion of the installation is also devoted to the arts of Aboriginal Australia and the Torres Strait. Highlights include imposing Asmat ancestor poles (bis) and a soaring ceremonial house ceiling from the Kwoma people.

    Island Melanesia

    Works in the Island Melanesia section originate from the vast arc of islands and archipelagos situated east of New Guinea in the Southwest Pacific, including the large islands of New Britain and New Ireland and the archipelagos of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia. Highlights include a towering slit gong (one of the largest freestanding musical instruments on earth) from Vanuatu, a gigantic figural headdress (hareiga) depicting a powerful female spirit from New Britain, and intricate funerary sculptures (malagan) from New Ireland.

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