29 October 2012

My Thoughts on the Metropolitan Museum, NYC

I spent this past Thursday in New York City and wanted to share some of what I saw.

Coincidentally, the first painting I came upon at the Met was Juan van der Hamen y Léon's Still Life with Flowers and Fruit (1629) -- the bottom portion of which includes italian plums. (:

Two 17th century Dutch paintings then caught my attention: Pieter Claesz's Still Life with Two Lemons, a Facon de Venise Glass, Roemer, Knife and Olives on a Table (1629) and Willem Claesz Heda's Still Life with Oysters, a Silver Tazza, and Glassware (1635). (As an aside, in my January 2012 post, I wrote about the PMA's Rembrandt exhibition, and I have a similar sentiment here: Heda's still life looks nothing like the Met's online reproduction.) I took a little bit of time to do some quick graphite studies of Heda's still life because he does a couple of things in the painting that I want to pursue in my own work.

Also, I am excited about a few new/old ideas I got while looking at Dutch painter Jan Davidsz de Heem's Still Life with a Glass and Oysters (ca. 1640) -- oysters!, Flemish painter Osias Beert the Elder's Still Life of Fruit and Hazelnuts (1620) -- plums, again!, and Dutch painter Gabriël Metsu's A Woman Cleaning Fish (ca. 1660) -- shimmering fish as gestural reflective objects -- and The Visit to the Nursery (1661) -- I often forget that I used to always set up my still life objects on ornate textiles/patterns.

In addition to my ongoing interest in Dutch painting, I looked at some works by Velasquez, Arthur Davis's Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bull (Mrs. Bull's dress is remarkably painted), and Rembrandt's self portrait (which I 'instagrammed' on facebook). And although I saw them both in 2009 at the Met's Vermeer exhibition, it was also very nice to again see Vermeer's A Maid Asleep (ca. 1656-57) -- which I think also looks nothing like the Met's reproduction online -- and his Young Woman with a Water Pitcher -- a detail of which I posted for fun on facebook as a sort of "painting guessing game" (at least twenty people got it right).

I saw a few more notable things in Chelsea, including Ai WeiWei at Mary Boone, Chuck Close at Pace, and Charlie Ritchie at BravinLee, but I'll save them for my next post.

What do you think about these works? Please leave a comment below.



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