Following Up at the Met (Thursday Doors)
point of view
beyond the edges, around,
on the other side
I promised some follow up photos in my previous posts about the Metropolitan Museum. Here’s the front façade, looking north, above, and south, at the top. The building is basically a mirror image around the front entrance–impossible for me to get the whole thing in one photo. It’s huge, both inside and out.
And here are the fountains located on either side of the entrance, also promised months ago.
They cycle on and off.
These were taken awhile ago, but on my most recent visit I suddenly realized what was on the other side of those doors that are all windows, the ones that reflect Cleopatra’s Needle, on the back side of the museum.
This is the back of the Petrie Sculpture Court. You can reserve the space for events, hence the doors for the caterers I would guess. Well that’s a general you–I think it might be out of the price range for most of us. It would be a great space for a party though.
And this is the Charles Engelhard court next to the American Wing. There’s a food court by the windows and doors. The building façade on the right belonged to the Second Branch Bank of the United States, originally located on Wall Street, built in 1822 and demolished in 1915. Efforts were made at the time to preserve the building, designed by Martin Euclid Thompson, and when those failed, the president of the Met had the façade preserved and installed as the entrance to the American Wing.
I also took photos of and from the balcony of Velez Blanco, which was closed when I took my original photos. But those are for a future post.
Remember to visit Thursday Doors for more doors, hosted by Dan Antion, here.
Velez Blanco (Thursday Doors)
The patio is hushed, other-worldly, the door to an office space a jarring contrast to the feeling of suspended time. Only one other person is present, a woman quietly sitting on a bench nursing her baby. I walk around and around, taking photos and pausing in wonder at the artistry, the attention to detail, in the construction of the room.
I try to imagine the lives of the inhabitants of a castle in 1500s Spain. Was this a place for conversation, entertainment, dancing? or just a passageway to other, more practical, rooms?
My mind fast forwards to New York in the early 1900s—how did George Blumenthal fit this into his townhouse? and to what use did he put it? I see finely dressed men and women, members of high society, gossiping and showing off their latest Paris fashions. Servants discreetly move among them with trays of food and drink.
The arrival of two other people returns me to myself, surrounded by the stillness of the museum’s whispered air. If only the creatures carved into the walls and doorways would speak…
between then and now
I walk imagined pathways–
roots, branches, and trees
This room in the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the actual patio from the Castle of Velez Blanco in Andalusia, Spain. Built with the façade of a fortress in the early 1500s on the foundation of a Moorish castle, it fell into ruins in the late 1700s, and its valuables, including the entire patio, were sold off in the early 20th Century. The patio was installed in the townhouse of George Blumenthal in New York, the one where he displayed his art.
The doors and balcony contain many beautiful marble carvings by Italian sculptors working in Spain.
One of the doors serves as an entrance to office space, which is a bit disconcerting.
There are also sculptures scattered throughout the space, including Bernini’s Bacchanal
and this Siren which I found quite appealing.
You can read more about the Castle of Velez Blanco here, and see pictures of the exterior.
And see George Blumenthal’s art mansion and read about it here.
My haibun is for my own W3 prompt–Compose a haibun that contrasts past and present.
And Doors! you can always find more of them, hosted by Dan Antion, at Thursday Doors, here.
Christmas Tree (Thursday Doors on Friday)
all of our many seasons–
circle and return
When I went to the Metropolitan Museum a few weeks ago, I discovered a treat–they were in the midst of decorating the holiday tree. This was during early member’s hour, before the museum was open to the public.
I even got a view of the work room…now I know what’s behind that door when I pass it again.
The tree is in a large cathedral-like room filled with medieval Christian art. Here’s one, appropriate to the season, that caught my attention.
I’m always interested in the many different depictions of Mary and have done quite a few drawings from sculptures in various museums. I’m especially attracted to the ones with expressive hands.
I hope to get back to see the tree completely decorated and unveiled. I also took photos of the fountains and as much of the front facade of the museum as was possible with traffic, contstruction, and the width of the street–but that’s for another post.
You can always find more doors here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
What We Mean When We Say “The Met(s)” (Thursday Doors)
New York has multiple Mets–
a bloop and a blast
in Queens leads to victory–
what every fan dreams.
The Met of Lincoln Center,
its audience hushed,
awaits swelling arias
upon the lit stage.
Central Park surrounds the Met
in museum form–
inside, we reflect on how
art imitates life–
outside, life imitates art.
This somewhat nonsensical verse is a Kouta, with a theme that “reflects ordinary life and often uses colloquialism and onomatopoeia”. New Yorkers use the Met interchangeably for both the Metropolitan Opera and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And no one that I know of ever refers to the baseball Mets as The New York Metropolitan Baseball Club, although I’ve occasionally heard them (derisively) referred to as The Metropolitans. This form was suggested by Reena for this week’s Tanka Tuesday prompt. I’ve also thrown in a chiasma at the end which was Larry Trasciatti’s prompt for W3 this week.
And of course, doors, for Thursday doors. Last week I showed the side and back of the Metropolitan Museum, and the first two photos today show the main entrance at the front. Above is one of the front side entrances, the one where members (like me!) go for an exclusive early morning viewing hour on Thursdays.
Here’s some of the ornamentation on the roofline.
I realize I need to take more photos the next time I go–from across the street, to get a larger picture of the entire building if I can, and I didn’t photo the fountain either, or get all the steps in. Here’s the right front side entrance with some windows.
and one of the corners
to be continued…
In the meantime you can always see more doors here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
Someone once told me the NY on the Mets logo stands for “next year”. But of course these days, one could say that about the Yankees as well…
Faith, Hope, Love (Thursday Doors on Friday)
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
–1 Corinthians 13:13
Love brings together what is in danger of falling apart. Love supports what is in danger of falling down. Love extends itself to embrace those who are in danger of being lost.
Love can be expressed through ritual, repetition, ceremony. Love can be expressed through music, words, movement, art. Love can be expressed through sight, sound, touch.
Love enlarges its container, its vessel, its heart. Love fills what is empty, feeds what is hungry, connects and includes. Love is doing but also being.
Love trusts and is trustworthy. Love opens doors, lets in light, reveals truth. Love always answers need in the affirmative: yes.
When I entered this room in the Jewish Museum I was stopped by the beauty of the far wall. I recognized right away the work of Kehinde Wiley on the left, and was captivated by its juxtaposition with the Torah Ark on the right and the shadows cast by the room’s lighting. No one else entered the room while I was there, providing me with an intimate experience of the presence of spirit that the room evoked.
A Torah Ark is a cabinet constructed to hold the Torah scrolls in a synagogue. The doors are opened only to remove the Torah for prayers and the reading of scripture. When the scrolls are returned to the Ark, the doors are once again closed.
This Ark, beautifully carved by Abraham Shulkin in 1899, was originally located in Adath Yeshurin Synagogue in Sioux City, Iowa. Shulkin was a Russian immigrant who included elements of the folk art ornamentation of his birthplace in the design, which was common in Eastern Europe Arks of the 18th and 19th centuries. None of the wooden Torah Arks of this style in Eastern Europe survived World War II.
Kehinde Wiley’s painting is part of his “World Stage” series, in which he “inserts images of people of color from around the world into the Western tradition of portraiture”. This is a portrait of Alios Itzhak, an Ethiopian Israeli Jew. The work includes many of the ornamental images found on the Torah Ark, providing both an echo and a mirror.
I have a soft spot for the work of Kehinde Wiley. You can read about it in one of my previous posts, here.
And learn more about this Torah Ark here.
My poem was written for the W3 prompt, where Britta asked us to respond to her poem “Boots on the ground”, with a prose poem on the subject of love. Fortuitously and quite by accident, it also answers Bjorn’s dVerse prompt for a poem that includes our own aphorisms.
And as always look for more doors and share your own here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
Lamassu (Thursday Doors)
Plant your sacred trees in all the corners of this town–
Confront the evil that attempts to cross our threshold.
Send us the divine spirits of your starmother, your starfather–
O Lamassu, keep the hideous demons from this door.
Help us to remember our history–
Give us courage to continue despite our fearful hearts–
Hold us in the net of your living landscape–
Plant your sacred trees in all the corners of this town.
Lift the veils that seek only to deceive us-
Challenge those who wish to conquer us with lies–
Give strength to the voiceless, the threatened, the condemned—
Confront the evil that attempts to cross our threshold.
Lend us your wings and your presence–
Converge us with the cosmos—evanescent, light–
Make us whole again—
Send us the divine spirits of your starmother, your starfather.
Join us with the ever-turning wheel–
Four to mark the seasons, components of the soul–
Guard the elements of justice, our foundation–
O Lamassu, keep the hideous demons from this door.
Door guardians have been around for a long time. This re-creation of an Assyrian palace entrance in the Metropolitan Museum of Art dates from 860 BC. The guardians here are representations of Lamassu, a hybrid protective deity, combining four elements–lion, bull, eagle, and human. Later adapted by both Judaism (as Kerubim) and Christianity (as symbols of the four Evangelists)–these components also appear on the Wheel of Fortune Tarot card–pairs of Lamassu figures were often seen flanking both town gates and palace doors in Assyria. Representations were also buried under thresholds of house doors to keep evil spirits and demons out.
The sacred trees that are accompanied by magical beings on the walls of the palace are known to be important to Assyrian ritual, although the exact meaning of them is still a mystery. They were often placed in the corners of rooms as protections, since corners, like doorways, were considered vulnerable to penetrations by demons.
Lamassu are said to be the embodiment of the divine principles associated with human celestial origins, the children of stars. They are rendered with five legs so they appear to be both standing from the front and walking from the side.
The palace walls also contained scenes of the King performing rituals.
My poem is in answer to Punam’s W3 prompt for a cascade poem containing personification, with the theme of freedom. I also used Jane’s Oracle 2 generated wordlist as inspiration.
I forgot that Thursday Doors was on vacation this week, but you can always find doors from past weeks here with host Dan Antion.
Thursday Doors: Zen Garden
the entrance is an enso a glowing blue light
a form that contains nothing inside of the whole
spirit absorbed by essence emptied of ego
in silent simplicity opening, complete
My younger daughter took a few days off from work before Memorial Day, and one of her requests was that I take her as my guest to early morning member hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which are on Thursdays from 9-10 am. I had told her and her sister about visiting the Winslow Homer exhibit that way.
One of her favorite places in the museum is the Zen Garden. It wasn’t open in the early hour, but even after the museum opened to the public at 10, we were able to visit without any crowding–it’s tucked away among the Asian art, and if you don’t know where to look, you probably only discover it by stumbling upon it. It’s a bright open empty room with a rocks and a koi pond with a waterfall on the edges.
I used to post about my museum visits a lot, and perhaps in the future I’ll do a post on the Homer exhibit and also the paintings of Louise Bourgeois which were inexplicably hard to find. We asked directions three times, and only found it by accident in the end. But that meant that only one other person was there so we could really look at the art.
The museum also has many wonderful doors and door-like structures, such as the tiled niche above.
My poem is in the Japanese imayo form, which consists of four 7/5 syllabic lines. There is a planned caesura (or pause) between the first 7 syllables and the final 5. Another feature of this form is that it makes three poems–the whole, and one each with the 7-syllable lines and the 5-syllable lines, similar to a cleave poem, except that somehow it seemed more natural to me and easier to construct. I’ve included the color blue for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday #tastetherainbow prompt.
You can read more about the enso here.
And, as always, find more doors with host Dan Antion, here.
Poem up at The Ekphrastic Review
My poem, Number 7, inspired by the Anne Ryan collage of the same name, is up at The Ekphrastic Review, along with eleven other varied and interesting poetic responses. My thanks to Lorette Luzajic for selecting and posting my work, and for providing a wonderful forum for ekphrastic poetry and art.
The mandala, above, was also inspired by Anne Ryan’s art. You can read more about her and see more of her work here.
like the Fool’s card—zero played
I’ve been neglecting the Secret Keeper’s prompts the past few weeks for lack of time, not interest. They are always like a puzzle for me, coming together in unexpected ways when I start to write. The appearance of the Fool, after a few drafts of ideas, was definitely a surprise. But serendipity is always part of the work I do. The end is never where I thought I was going.
I took the photos of Japanese ceramics with the beautiful window light reflected on the glass display cases at the Metropolitan Museum last spring. I was reminded of them by Marcy Erb’s post a few weeks back of a photo with reflected light on a Buddha, and I think they fit with this poem.
And I’ve resurrected a few Fools from past posts. The Fool (Zero in the Tarot) represents for me a capacity to be surprised and delighted, to leave an empty space to be filled by life. Wonder is everywhere; we just need make some room for it occasionally.
Sorry I’ve been missing. We took a few days off and went to see my cousins in Florida.
We hit the Ringling Museum of Art and the Big Top Circus Museum. The art was mostly the old masters stuff. They need to work on their contemporary collection.
The grounds consisted of 66 gorgeous acres where John Ringling lived. The Circus Museum was separate and really interesting. The main display was a huge 3800 square foot model of the 1919-1938 Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus by Howard C. Tibbals. This thing really blew my mind. I took a picture from above but you can’t really tell the scope of this.
I didn’t do any drawing. Sorry, Kerfe. It was really hot down here which is no excuse.
My cousin’s lovely and very pregnant wife wearing the Star Wars necklace I made her for the baby shower. All in all a very nice weekend!