Wednesday, February 20, 2013
The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened on February 20, 1872, in its first home on Fifth Avenue (at 54th Street) in New York. It later moved north on Fifth Ave., in what was still farmland with unpaved streets, to a new building at 82nd Street by architect Calvert Vaux. That structure was engulfed by multiple expansions made through 1910, including the Beaux-Arts facade, Great Hall and Grand Stairway we see today. Now the largest art museum in the United States, the Met consists of more than 20 structures, encompassing more than 2 million square feet of floor space. The permanent collection contains more than two million works, curated in 17 departments, including classical antiquity and Ancient Egypt; European painting and sculpture; American and modern art; holdings of African, Asian, Oceanic, Byzantine and Islamic art; and much more. The tops of the columns on the front façade are still unfinished.