This past Sunday, I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the first time in quite a while. I travelled in to the City especially to see my friend, Nicole Moné, of The Skeleton Project, and to see the special Vermeer exhibit of The Milkmaid, on loan from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
I must admit, I am not the biggest Johannes Vermeer fan. Undoubtedly, I admire what he accomplished, especially for the time in which he painted, but in the grand scheme of art through the ages, there are so many other artists whom I prefer. Perhaps I would be more enamored of his work if I were to see more of the thirty six known pieces (especially The Geographer and The Astronomer). Still, I was eager to see The Milkmaid, and it is now definitely my favorite work by Vermeer which I have seen in person.
To see a wonderful, interactive overview of The Milkmaid, check out the website, Essential Vermeer. Artist and author, Jonathan Janson, has created an amazing online tribute to the Dutch artist, including everything from Vermeer's palette to the music popular during the painter's life. It's definitely worth checking out.
The rest of my tour of the Met was bittersweet. Although I was disappointed that the American Wing was still closed for renovations, I was happy to find a few of my favorites had been moved into the Henry R. Luce Center for the Study of American Art. This area of visible storage is one of the best sections of the museum to me, and I've often wished that many of the paintings usually on display there were given a more prominent location in the gallery. However, on the flip-side, having paintings by Sargent, Chase, Eakins, Abbey, and others, at eye height, and only six inches away (behind glass) was a nice welcome. I never expected to have the chance to be face-to-face with Sargent's Madame X!