Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Metropolitan Museum

A trip to a major city is never complete without some culture - but I've learned over the years to cherry-pcik the best collections. This means that you get to see highlights, without suffering too many blisters or tired feet. (Seeing all of the galleries in the Prado, Madrid was not one of my holiday higlights). So, where do you head to in New York for some culture but to the Metropolitan Museum.

The Met's simple facade belies the elegant lobby that awaits visitors and the fantastic collections that it holds. With the aid of a map, we planned our course of attack on the exhibitions. First on our list was the Superhero fashion collection, which was the theme of this year's famous Met ball. The collection mixes pieces from top-end fashion designers with famous superhero costumes, while explaining the cultural signifance of the comic-book superhero. The exhibition isn't large but it is amazing and features costumes such as the Batman outfit from the first Christian Bale film, Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman costume from Batman Returns, Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman outfit, the Spiderman outfits from Spider Man 3, the Superman costume from the original Superman movie and lastly, my favourite, the iron suit worn by Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man.

Wow, imagine wearing that. I thought it looked great in the film, but it looked damn impressive in real life also. I would have gone to see any exhibition that displayed only these costumes, but the clever use of designer creations to complete the setpieces was amazing.

We then switched to the Armour and Weapons display, which has an impressive range of European armour on show. The gilded ceremonial armour of King Henry II of France (link) captivated me for a while and as I moved around the display, I wondered about the idea of encasing oneself in a metal suit, I imagined the weight and the feel and the lack of vision and mobility. (Incidentally, Henry II died as a result of an accident incurred in a tournament!) There was even a child's suit of armour, made for the Infante Luis, Prince of Asturias, constructued in 1712 and thought to be one of the last suits of armour made in the continent. (link)

An amazing piece in the exhibition is the last suit of armour worn by King Henry VIII of England. It is thought to be Italian in origin, but is the size of the suit that makes it stand out. When compared to surrounding suits, it's clear that King Harry was fairly large at that stage in his life. (Substitute "fairly large" for fat!)

The last stop was the Musical Instruments collection which is split between European (or classical) instruments and ethnic (or tribal instrument). While there are some amazingly intricate pieces in this exhibition, the lighting or location doesn't do them justice. The room is dimly lit, and it's hard to discern features on some of these beautiful pieces. To me, musical instruments are fantastic pieces of engineering and somehow capture our human desire for beautiful things. This exhibition ultimately felt disappointing, especially considering the fantastic exhibition spaces available throughout the Met building. However, coming across a guitar-like stringed instrument made using an aadvark shell was worth a trip.


1 comment

Anonymous said...

I was surfing at home (cause HE leaves the internet turned on!) and found this looking for my name, wagga. I think it's great and I remember the Iron man too, and he was brilliant, but Bear said he'd 'take him', and then tried to steal all the individual components of the suit, but he could get them all out so I brought them back, silly Bear. And I had steak too but not one as big as that cause my tummy is only small, and I had pastrami too, you must have been following me around! Heehee!
Bear was missing a bit too, I don't know where he was, but he always came back smelling like Dim Sum, see that is the way with him you can always tell where he was cause he soaks up the air around him all the time, he's not as sly as he thinks he is. Then I was in Belgium, I miss Belgium and Kissable and Blondie and the big slide-y floor that's great for skeeting up and down on during the day and Moules, I think that they are one of my new favourite things, Moules and garlic, yummy. But my favourite thing will always be Blondie. And then I was in the airplane (almost late again, I don't know about that lad sometimes) and then I was home and now I try to do some chin-ups all day, but can only do a few, they are hard and I need my energy for the cuddles in the evening, tiring business you know.
And that is everything I think, other than I was giving Humpty a tomato but he seemed to prefer to chew on my finger, but that is ok, it just tickles!


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