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A Half Day at the Met: The Director's Tour for the First Floor

Met Director Thomas P. Campbell planned this itinerary for you to explore some of the masterpieces in this encyclopedic collection of world art. You'll see great works of art and great spaces as this two-part tour takes you through the centuries and introduces you to cultures throughout the world—and throughout the Museum.

From ancient Egypt to Medieval Europe to Africa, Oceania, and then on to the classical world of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, you will encounter works that reflect humankind's highest achievements. This route focuses on the first floor.

This itinerary is also available as an Audio Guide in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, and Spanish.

Tour stops (18)

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    The Great Hall

    Get started in this monumental hall designed by Richard Morris Hunt. The soaring arches and domed vaults set the stage for the galleries beyond, where you'll see over 5,000 years of world art.
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    Mastaba Tomb of Perneb

    This 4,500 year old tomb is a gateway to one of the most comprehensive collections of Egyptian art anywhere outside of Egypt. Walk inside the decorated chapel to see images that the ancient Egyptians believed would come alive in the afterlife.

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    Models from the Tomb of Meketre

    These charming models of Egyptian life were buried with a high Egyptian official and intended to provide for him in the afterlife. They were sealed in a tomb chamber—undisturbed for 4,000 years until they were discovered by Metropolitan Museum archeologists in 1920. They provide a vivid picture of the ancient Egyptians and their lifestyle.

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    Temple of Dendur in The Sackler Wing

    A favorite spot for many visitors, this gallery houses an entire Egyptian temple from the year 15 BC, when Egypt was part of the Roman Empire.

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    The Charles Engelhard Court

    One of New York's great public spaces, this courtyard is filled with American sculpture and two historic building facades. On one end is a 19th-century façade that once fronted a federal bank on Wall Street and now opens into an extraordinary collection of American Art on several floors. On the other end, there is an eclectic porch designed by the great artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany for his home on Long Island: Laurelton Hall.

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    Armor of George Clifford, Third Earl of Cumberland

    This full set of armor from the 16th century was made in England's Royal Workshops for George Clifford, who served as Queen Elizabeth I's champion in spectacular mock battles known as tournaments. Every surface is covered with etched patterns and gilding, incorporating visual references to the Queen and her glory as ruler.

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    Studiolo from the Ducal Palace at Gubbio

    The private retreat of a Duke in Renaissance Italy, this room appears to be fully outfitted with cabinets, benches, and tributes to the Duke's military career and his passion for learning and music. But all of it is a brilliant illusion, crafted with thousands of pieces of wood that have been fitted together to create the exquisitely detailed imagery.

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    Scenes from the Legend of Saint Vincent of Saragossa and the History of His Relics

    Within the dark interior of a church, the radiance of medieval stained glass was able to convey a storyline with striking clarity. These panels show the dramatic incidents associated with the life of Saint Vincent with jewel-like brilliance.

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    Medieval Hall

    This hall, which opened in 1880, was once the principal gallery of the whole Museum. It is now a hub for the art of the European Middle Ages, a long and complex period bracketed by ancient and modern times. Look around to see the range in materials and styles, and don't miss the Museum's changing display of tapestries on the walls in this space.

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    Goya, Condesa de Altamira and Her Daughter, Maria Agustina

    The galleries in this wing are designed to recreate the atmosphere of collector Robert Lehman's home. Among Lehman's holdings are an evocative portrait by Francisco Goya of a Spanish Countess and her daughter and a sumptuously painted portrait of an aristocratic woman by the French painter, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Both are remarkably rich in surface details and powerful representations of their subjects.

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    Grand Salon from the Hôtel de Tessé

    Part of the Met's suite of galleries devoted to opulence of 18th-century France, this lavish reception room is decorated with extraordinary objects and furniture that were the hallmarks of aristocratic interiors of the period.

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    Carroll and Milton Petrie European Sculpture Court

    This court, enclosed in 1990, houses superb examples of French and Italian sculpture against the backdrop of the Museum's original carriage façade. Works spanning the seventeenth through the early-twentieth centuries, including masterpieces by Canova and Rodin, extend across this light-filled space in a dramatic garden display.
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    Precolumbian Gold

    The ancient Americans worked in gold for at least 3,000 years, using it in spectacular abundance to celebrate their rulers and gods through personal adornment, ritual, and in burial. This treasury is unparalleled in its comprehensive range, including objects that span vast cultures and time periods to reveal a dazzling picture of ancient pre-Columbian civilizations.

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    Bis Poles

    These magnificent monumental poles were made as part of a religious ritual among the Asmat people of southwestern New Guinea. Each sculpture is carved in secrecy from a single inverted tree, with each figure representing a specific person who has died within the community.

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    Queen Mother Pendant Mask: Iyoba

    This finely-carved ivory mask comes from the kingdom of Benin and captures the strength of an African Queen Mother who served as a trusted advisor to her son, King Esigie. This mask was worn as an amulet as part of the King's ceremonial dress and demonstrates a powerful combination of realism and idealized imagery.

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    Triumph of Dionysos and the Seasons Sarcophagus

    This decorated coffin from ancient Rome shows the god of wine with a throng of merry-makers and symbols of the four seasons (suggesting of the lasting nature of the festivities and nature's cycles of death and rebirth). The marble is carved so deeply that many of the figures appear to be freestanding, with rich pockets of shadow surrounding them.

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    Fresco in a Cubiculum (Bedroom) from the villa of P. Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale

    Almost 2,000 years ago, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in southern Italy buried this bedroom in volcanic ash, remarkably preserving its finely painted frescoes and offering us an incomparable glimpse into ancient Roman life.

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    Statue of a Kouros (Youth)

    An early example of the Greek fascination with the human form, this massive figure from around 600 BC marks the foundation of the Classical tradition of freestanding sculpture. Lifelike characteristics are seen in the figure's striding stance and in the abstract rendering of facial features, musculature, and joints.

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