Sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Sculpture

If a statue’s one breast symbolizes “fetishization” and “commodification,” two full-frontal nudes surely violates the Met’s rules against race and representation.

The museum strives to introduce visitors to a broad selection of American art, though certain galleries feature works considered masterpieces. A visit offers visitors an eye-opening visual lesson in scale, volume, balance and symmetry/asymmetry.

Sculpture Collection

Visit any sculpture gallery and you could spend hours carefully examining, comparing and contrasting pieces. Engaging slowly can reveal subtleties you might miss when quickly browsing the Met’s top hits – for instance galleries 540 and 541 offer exquisite bejeweled pendants from Jack and Belle Linsky Collection that draw you into an intricate world of gold filigree, baroque pearls and precious gems; upstairs dramatic lighting brings Parvati and Shiva alive for another round in Indian sculpture that you won’t soon forget!

The museum’s sculpture collection provides insight into the changing tastes and preferences of collectors, curators, and artists over several centuries. It demonstrates evolving notions of what constitutes “art,” how sculpture can communicate complex ideas from history, religion, politics and culture and why artists blurred the distinctions between “real” and “artificial,” sculpture and the human body; living and dead people; anatomical models versus imaginary models.

This gallery presents sculptures dating from 14th-century Italy all the way to global present-day pieces arranged thematically. They include works by Louise Bourgeois, Isa Genzken, Duane Hanson, Bharti Kher, Jeff Koons and Yinka Shonibare MBE, among many others. Through flexible materials resembling skin or images that represent movement these works provide insights into why depictions of human form remains fundamental in art-making today.

The sculpture gallery showcases 19th-century European masterpieces. You can study how artists like Clodion worked during the transition from old regime to Napoleon’s reign to revive classical ideals of beauty; and admire Auguste Rodin’s challenging arrangement of his group where one figure looks back while another stands still; also artists such as Erastus Dow Palmer, John Q. A Ward and Hiram Powers’ ability to depict movement through marble sculptures like Erastus Dow Palmer.

Sculpture Galleries

The Metropolitan Museum of Art–or The Met, as it’s affectionately known–has long held a special place in visitors’ hearts. Showcasing treasures spanning 5000 years of history from Sasanian textiles and Henry VIII armor to Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s classic Washington Crossing the Delaware portrait, its 17 acres of gallery space showcase treasures for each visitor to admire.

But the Met is also home to powerful sculpture galleries that captivate audiences. It is the only place in New York where visitors can witness works by artists like Claude Monet and Joan Miro displayed alongside works by Giacomo Manzu, Constantin Brancusi and Alexander Calder – truly moving artwork!

No wonder these sculptural galleries are some of the most visited rooms at any museum. No need to be an expert on sculpture if you appreciate its art; art should elicit emotion. That is why it’s crucial that visitors take a guided tour, where guides provide invaluable information about works and their history – helping visitors better connect with pieces.

In the Sculpture Galleries you’ll discover an expansive collection of sculpture from Asia, Europe and the Middle East as well as paintings by figurative artists and decorative arts spanning millennia of BCE up until modern life-sized human-headed winged bull statues carved out of stone at Nimrud.

The Met is home to an unparalleled collection of European sculpture and decorative arts spanning nearly five centuries, organized into gallery spaces that create an enfilade, or line of sight between pieces arranged so they flow together seamlessly. So you could walk through a room of early Renaissance sculpture before turning a corner to view portraits by masters such as Charles Willson Peale or Gilbert Stuart (fig 1).

Mount Putuo: Imagining the Sacred in Modern Chinese Sculpture,” on display until September 22rd, explores the spiritual role of sculpture in modern China. Featuring over 20 works by artists like Wang Tieguan, Xu Zhu and Zhang Huan as well as two monumental terracotta horses from Qing Dynasty China as well as an 18th-century depiction of Heavenly Maiden from Buddhism as part of this exhibition.

Sculpture Events

Begin an adventure through global art with performances, storytelling, interactive gallery activities and artist-led workshops suited for audiences of all ages.

Unleash your creativity and try your hand at art-making techniques during special drop-in programs for families in the galleries. At these immersive sessions, visitors use all five senses to explore the Met collection through drawing or other hands-on activities.

Experience fresh perspectives on European sculpture and decorative arts through lectures, interviews, and exhibition previews. Examine how art has been used as a tool of power and how objects accumulate symbolic value over time. Drawing inspiration from antislavery imagery’s longstanding popularity among antislavery groups; nineteenth-century ethnographic theories about race differentiation; and France’s colonial fascination with Africa as inspiration, this exhibition will examine depictions of black people across Europe post emancipation through sculptures depicting black figures.

Explore technique and discover how art and science interact in these monthly gallery demonstrations. Each month focuses on a specific theme while participants handle tools and materials to discover how works of art were made.

This exhibition is made possible thanks to generous support from Arete Foundation/Betsy and Ed Cohen and The Art Fund with assistance from our Board of Trustees.

Meet and discover an artist first-hand while discovering their work, inspirations, and creative process in this special tour led by her.

Gain insights into the challenges associated with making public sculptures, following in the footsteps of an innovative artist whose art has become emblematic of their city and an agent for change.

Hew Locke’s new commission draws upon trophies as emblems of competition and victory to consider how objects travel over time from their initial creation through to being transferred between individuals or institutions. Utilizing The Met’s historic facade as its backdrop, this installation will explore how objects acquire both material and symbolic values over time.

No matter if it’s for an annual meeting of your organization or an anniversary celebration, The Met is an elegant space suitable for hosting any type of gathering imaginable – from intimate dinners and receptions, all the way through large scale concerts and receptions.

Sculpture Shop

The Met is one of the world’s premier art museums. Established by a group of wealthy philanthropists who wanted their treasures accessible to the general public, their collection now exceeds two million works from five millennia; making the Met an essential component of New York City culture and beloved by residents alike.

The Museum’s iconic Temple of Dendur is the only complete Egyptian temple in Western Hemisphere. Originally built on the banks of the Nile River, it has since been disassembled piecemeal to protect it from flood waters and rebuilt here piecemeal as part of an innovative project called Operation Noah. A must see!

Throughout winter, The Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts its popular Date Night at the Met program. Open late hours, couples can come enjoy cocktails and small plates while browsing exhibits without long lines at main entrance. Take this chance to discover this gallery without crowds!

Visitors to the Museum can also gain an intimate perspective by booking one of their many guided tours, which range from sculpture, Asian and Islamic art based themes, curator-led experiences and online booking options to arrange. Guided tours may also be purchased directly at the museum.

Similar to Jeff Koons, Louis Ray creates sculptures rooted in everyday American culture; however, his pieces are more classical than pop. Ray channels his passion for Americana into an engagement with Western sculpture history: from archaic Greek statues through Rodin bronzes and David Smith and Anthony Caro’s welded steel works; Louis Ray explores how space works while creating abstract works which simultaneously universal and particular.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art boasts one of the world’s premier sculptural collections. For decades, this museum has dedicated its resources and exhibitions to sharing art with the general public and providing art education in American schools. Millions have benefited from experiencing its collections and exhibitions worldwide.