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Hidden Gems of the MET.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York is one of the world's greatest art collections. Better known as the MET, this gallery is a point of pride for locals and a must-see attraction for visitors to the city. Art lovers flock here to admire more than 2 million works of art, from ancient Egyptian artifacts to the latest in avant-garde artistic installations. And this incredible collection has made the MET one of the world's most visited art museums.

Photo credit: Carl Newton.

The MET is home to masterpieces by some of the biggest names in art history, including Turner, Caravaggio, Degas, Manet, Renoir, and Picasso. And often, it's tempting to go straight to the best-known paintings and sculptures, especially when you're pressed for time.

But if you have a little more time to spare, we recommend avoiding the crowds that make a beeline from one famous painting to another. The MET also contains some lesser-known gems that are most definitely worth visiting. Drop off your bags at a luggage storage near the MET and check out some of these treasures. Not only will you get to avoid the crowds, but you'll also get bragging rights that you've seen parts of this extensive museum that most people never get to.

Temple of Dendur

When planning a trip to New York, you don't normally expect to find too many Egyptian temples. But that's exactly what you will find at the MET. This is a real Egyptian temple that was ordered to be built by the Roman Emperor Augustus back in 15 BCE. Moved piece by piece from Egypt when the construction of the Aswan High Dam began in 1960, the Egyptian government gifted the temple to the United States and reassembled it in the MET. That makes it one of the most significant ancient Egyptian ruins in the Western Hemisphere and a place any budding Egyptologists have to see for themselves.

Human-headed Winged Bull

In the culture of ancient Assyria, which occupied the territory known in the modern era as Iraq, lamassus were powerful mythical creatures that protected the empire from its enemies, both mortal and spiritual. Given that the Assyrian Empire collapsed in the seventh century BC, not many images of lamassus remain. But you will find some fairly spectacular examples in the MET, including a human-headed winged bull that once served as the guardian at the entrance to an Assyrian palace.

Photo credit: Thomas Eidsvold.

Thomas Cole's View from Mount Holyoke

This 1836 painting is considered one of the masterpieces of American landscape art. It is also considered the first major work of US artist Thomas Cole and was inspired by his own visit to Mount Holyoke in Massachusetts. Although it takes up a relatively small space on the MET's wall, it is often cited as an example of how American landscape painting developed during the 19th century.

Hearing Sphinx

This sculpture commemorates a legend that dates back to ancient Greece concerning a woman named Rhea who was so moved by hearing Apollo play his lyre that she created a sphinx with ears large enough to capture all the music. The sculpture captures this moment perfectly, with one ear cocked toward Apollo, and it has been described as "one of the most moving works in Western art." Seeing this piece at the MET is sure to captivate your own senses.

A Bedroom from Pompeii

The Roman city of Pompeii is rightly famous for being one of the most fascinating archaeological ruins in the world. Buried by a volcanic eruption in 79 A.D., the city was preserved under tons of ash for centuries until excavations began in the 18th century. The excavation of Pompeii is still ongoing, but the city forms one of the most stunning relics of the Roman world left on earth.

If you can’t make the journey all the way to southern Italy to see Pompeii for yourself, the next best thing might be to visit the MET. The museum is home to a reconstructed bedroom complete with authentic frescoes from the ruins themselves that were shipped to New York in the 20th century. It's amazing to see a room where people lived and slept so long ago, and it's one of the highlights of the museum's Roman collection.

Photo credit: Jouwen Wang.

Velazquez's Juan de Pareja

One of the greatest painters ever to emerge from Spain, Diego Velazquez, was commissioned by King Philip IV to paint a portrait of his slave, Juan de Pareja. It is one of the most remarkable works in the entire MET gallery, and it's hard not to be moved when viewing this painting. Not only does it evoke powerful feelings about the cruelty of slavery, but it also captures something truly special about one particular person – Juan de Pareja himself – who managed to rise above his circumstances to become a respected court painter in Madrid.

Bedroom from the Sagredo Palace

The MET houses one of the largest collections of ancient art and artifacts in the world, and it's easy to get lost in these galleries for hours. But hidden among them is a genuine gem – a bedroom from the Sagredo Palace in Venice dating back to the 18th century. The room is filled with furniture, paintings, and frescoes that you can imagine were once used by an important religious or political figure of their time. It's an exquisite work of art that deserves our appreciation, no matter how many centuries ago it was created.

Persian Prayer Niche

The highlight of the MET's highly praised Islamic collection, this prayer niche was created by an artist working in the court of the Persian ruler, Shah Tahmasp. The intricate detail and vibrant colors of this work show why it has been described as one of the most beautiful examples of Islamic decorative art ever made. Seeing this piece at the MET is sure to inspire awe and admiration in even the most seasoned art connoisseur.

Pablo Picasso's portrait of Gertrude Stein

This portrait of the iconic writer and art patron Gertrude Stein is, unsurprisingly, one of the most popular works at the museum. Painted by Pablo Picasso in 1906 when he was just 24 years old, it's a stunning representation of his style at that time. It also serves as an important reminder of how much influence Stein had on Picasso's work and on the entire development of modern art in general.

Photo credit: Rachel McDermott.

Met Roof Garden Cafe and Martini Bar

Finally, no visit to the MET would be complete without checking out its iconic rooftop garden café. This is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the museum galleries and enjoy some delicious food with amazing views of Central Park. But if you are looking for something a bit more exciting, then the Martini Bar on the roof should definitely be on your list. Here you can relax with a cocktail while admiring breathtaking views of New York City from one of the most stunning spots in town.


This selection of hidden gems makes it clear that The Metropolitan Museum of Art has something special in store for everyone who visits it; whether it’s an ancient sculpture, a bedroom from Pompeii, or even a rooftop bar with a view, the MET is sure to provide a unique and unforgettable experience. So plan your visit today and discover these hidden gems for yourself!

14 replies:

Anonymous said...

I love going to museums when I was still at school, but I don’t do it much anymore. I may have to get back into it before too long after reading this! Thanks so much for sharing!

-Whitney Stewart

AiringMyLaundry said...

I have always wanted to visit The Met. I hope I can one day. It sounds like an awesome place.

Mom Knows Best said...

This is a place that I need to check out. I will add it to my list.

Gust si Aroma said...

wow! How many new interesting things to visit! I hope to have the chance to visit this museum soon!

Kishorelinassumption said...

Wow, I've not heard about this one, completely new to me. Thanks for this content

Beautiful Touches said...

Thank you for taking the time to uncover these hidden gems!

Melanie Edjourian said...

I never got to visit last time I went to New York. It sounds like they have plenty to see there when visiting. Perfect for history lovers.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing art museum! I would love to visit this place someday soon. Thanks for the detailed guide and tips ❤️

Everything Enchanting 🙂

Lois said...

I love the metropolitan art museum. I have not been there lately so I am due for a visit and there should be many new exhibits now.

Lavanda Michelle said...

I've always wanted to visit. It looks super interesting and fun. Thanks for sharing!

Richelle Milar said...

Such a really wonderful and beautiful place to visit! I would really love to be here!

Christy G said...

I haven't ever been to New York but it is something that I hope to do before I get too much older. haha Thank you for sharing all of the popular spots to check out.

Unknown said...

We never got to see MET when we were in NYC. Hopefully, we get to see it next time. -LYNNDEE

Clarice said...

The MET is indeed worth the visit. There is just so much to see and do. I am a huge fan of Picasso and would love to see his work.

By the way, the availability of luggage storage near the MET is good news. That just makes visiting so convenient.