Hello! I’ve just come back from New York City where I spent a few glorious hours at the Met Museum. I of course specifically sought out several of my favorite artworks. It’s like visiting old friends. I just had to take a selfie with my Death of Socrates. I love that painting!
But, there were several artworks that took me by surprise. These were artworks that I have either never seen before and really loved or artworks that I had seen before, but they never interested me. That’s why we need to see art in person! It is different and surprising and always wonderful.
This digital image does not capture how neat this artwork really was. I loved this map of the palaces of Rajasthan. I felt like I needed to sit it in front of me and study it for a while to unpack all it has to offer. I especially loved the little monkeys and ducks in the margins. Delightful! Learn more about this artwork.
Tang Dynasty Figures
These small, earthenware sculptures are filled with such character and expression!
Japanese Screen Painting
To be honest, I generally don’t find Japanese screens to by all that exciting. This one with its extreme simplicity struck me. The delicate touch with the mountains draws attention to the gracefulness of the bird. Loved it. Learn more about this artwork.
Dream of the Shepherd
I was struck by the emotion of this was too. The label calls it “haunting,” and I agree. Something about it made me want to look and think. I think this one will be good to discuss with students in future courses. Learn more about this artwork.
I turned the corner into this room, and this painting totally freaked me out. It was insanely realistic. It looked like that guy was in the room with me. It is interesting because the setting was done in a more painterly way, but the man was so crisp and clear looking right at me. Learn more about this artwork.
Not Boring at All
I’ve seen this painting before and until last week at the Met, I would have put it in my “Extremely Boring Artwork” list. I was so surprised to find it to be rather stunning in person. I don’t know if it was the asymmetricality, the range of values. the crisp clean lines, or the contrast of the stern people with the flowy lady on the ground, but it was a delight to see in person. Learn more about this artwork.
I Guess Manet isn’t Overrated
So apparently the theme for this post is “Art I thought I didn’t like, but maybe I need to give it a second chance.” Other than the masterpiece Luncheon on the Grass, I’ve never found Manet to be incredibly exciting, but I was surprised at how struck I was with these pastel sketch portraits. Manet did these in one sitting, and he managed to capture such life in them. Learn more about this artwork.
Why are we not all talking about this one?!
Holy smokes, this was amazing. It was an entire room of a Thomas Hart Benton artwork called America Today. The colors, the molding, and all of the many stories being told in this one were incredible. I had to meet a friend who was about to get off work, and I was really sad to leave this artwork. I wish I could have spent an hour in that room alone! You need to see this one! Learn more about this artwork.
Sweet, Fauve Love
This painting is so sweet and lovely and colorful. This is Adam and Eve in Central Park before the Fall of Man. Learn more about this artwork.
This one just cracked me up. This super serious portrait of a clown is totally unexpected. The label text says the artist often creates”penetrating, sometimes even unnerving portraits of circus performers.” That describes this painting exactly. Weird and cool, and I want to see more from this artist! He’s pretty much my new favorite artist. Learn more about this artwork.
What’s the most surprising artwork you have seen? Let me know in the comments!