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Have you visitet MET’s Greek and Roman Galleries? May 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Americas.

For Museum-goers who remember the MET’s old galleries of classical art, the brand-new installation will come as little short of a revelation. Until now, only the tiniest fraction of the Met’s holdings were on view, and the display, scattered and often ill-lit, did not always rise to the merits of the art.

What emerges now is the realization that the collections, seen together, are more “world class,” than most of us ever imagined. The new installation centers around the Leon Levy and Shelby White Court, positively alive with sunshine thanks to the barrel-vaulted skylight that spans the courtyard.

The art on view includes some of the very best antiquities to be found in this hemisphere. Among these are a newly reconstructed Etruscan chariot and the famed Sardis Column, which curator Carlos Picon calls, “the grandest example of ancient classical architecture in America.”

The dancing youths, the bearded philosphers, the sarcophagi and the hundreds of painted pots are surely splendid, but perhaps they will not be surprising to some viewers.

What does promise to take even the most jaded visitor’s breath away are the remains of some of the most fragile relics of the ancient world, like the stuccoes of angels and above all the sublime frescoes that cover entire rooms and that have been exhilaratingly re-created in the galleries of the Met. In these rooms, antiquity is not merely represented: It is resurrected.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue at 82nd St.; (212) 535-7710.

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