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Top 5 Things to See at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Peter Neely is a Brooklyn-based writer and poet who's been bounding between cities for a decade, with stops in San Francisco, Budapest, Montreal, and Lyon. Changing NYC apartments like socks, Peter has lived in Harlem, Greenpoint, Sunnyside, and Crown Heights, though Coney Island is his spiritual homeland. Spot him reading on the subway, or complaining about the slice at your favorite pizzeria.

An encyclopedic museum located on New York City’s Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art houses a collection representing 5,000 years of art and culture. The Met has it all, from Pre-Columbian terracotta to modernist paintings. See below for Met collection highlights to help navigate the museum's 1 million works of art on view.

1. The Dutch Masters

The Met has a remarkable collection of paintings by 16th- and 17th-century Dutch painters, including Frans Hals and Johannes Vermeer. Though Vermeer produced fewer than 40 paintings in his lifetime, he is celebrated for his delicate treatment of light. The Met has five Vermeers in its second-floor European Paintings galleries—more than any other museum in the world.

2. The Temple of Dendur

An Egyptian temple dating from the Roman Period is housed in a light-flooded room in the first-floor gallery 131 at the Met. Originally gifted to the United States by Egypt, the temple depicts masterful carvings of royals, deities, and lotus blossoms. Viewing the temple is a perfect way to begin a day in the museum.

3. The French Impressionists

The French impressionists produced stunning scenes of quotidian moments, landscapes, and still lives from their Paris studios in the mid-19th century. The Met is home to dozens of works by these artists, including Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, and Edgar Degas. You should make sure to view Degas's The Dance Class and Monet's Bridge over a Pond of Water Lilies. Find these paintings on the second floor, in the 19th- and Early 20th-Century European Paintings and Sculpture galleries.

4. Arms and Armor

Military history buffs should look out for the Met collection’s 14,000-plus items of arms and armor. With works dating from the 5th to the late 19th century, the collection is one of the most comprehensive of its kind in the world. You'll find swords, armor, and firearms from the west—including Europe and America—as well as the east—including Japan and South Asia. Find a vast collection in the arms and armor galleries of the Met's John Pierpont Morgan Wing.

5. European Sculpture

European sculpture is well represented at the Met, where evolving European styles from the 15th through the 20th century are represented in marble, bronze, and plaster. Be sure to visit gallery 534 on the first floor to view Lorenzo Bernini's Bacchanal, an example of Italian baroque sculpture at its most refined.

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