Virtual day trip to Metropolitan Museum of Art / New York

As part of the Zukunftskolleg’s annual day trip, on 23 March 2021 the fellows went on a virtual tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) of New York City, during which Margaret Samu explained the highlights of the museum.

From Ancient Greece – and one of the earliest marble statues of a human figure carved in Attica – to Ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire, the first stop on the tour were ancient statues and sculptures. In the next room, the oeuvre of Han Gan was on display: Night-Shining White from the Tang Dynasty. With its burning eyes, flaring nostrils and dancing hoofs, the fiery-tempered horse epitomizes Chinese myths about Central Asian “celestial steeds” that “sweated blood” and were actually dragons in disguise. From c. 750 to 1785 and Adélaïde Labille-Guiard and her Self-Portrait with Two Pupils: It is one of the most remarkable images of women’s art education in early modern Europe.

In the next room, the participants discovered Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware from 1851. It is his depiction of Washington’s attack on the Hessians at Trenton on 25 December 1776. The work of art was damaged in his studio by fire in 1850 and, although restored and acquired by the Bremen Kunsthalle, was destroyed again in a bomb raid in 1942. In 1850, Leutze began this version of the subject, which went on display in New York in October 1851.

The last stop of the tour was contemporary and modern art. The fellows were shown two fascinating pieces by Carmen Herrera, who sold her first painting at the age of 89 and was mostly unknown. Until 2009, that is, when a major show of her work opened in the UK and she was deemed “the find of a decade” by the Observer. Her work is now exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Following the very interesting tour through the Met, the fellows held a virtual “after-museum” party at to meet socially and discuss their favourite pieces from the tour.