When it comes to art, no matter what your taste you are sure to find plenty of it in New York City. Like other major cities around the world New York boasts some excellent museums and art galleries.
From modern art to paintings by the masters, there’s something to please everyone. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a universe of treasures, especially their collection of old master paintings.
This collection is located in in 32 rooms, at the top of the grand staircase. The collection spans from 1300 to 1800 hundred, that’s five centuries of European art.
Perhaps the oldest dated painting in this collection is Duccio di Buoninsegna, Madonna and Child (ca. 1300) This small painting was purchased by the Met in 2004 for between $45 and $50 million dollars.
Duccio di Buoninsegna was an Italian painter in the late 13th early 14th century. Throughout his life he completed many important works in religious and government buildings around Italy.
He was born somewhere between 1255 and 1260, and died around 1318 to 1319. Other notable paintings by him are Rucella Madonna, and Maesta with Twenty Angels and Nineteen Saints.
Dated 1472-75 Domenico Ghirlandaio, Saint Christopher and the Infant Christ, is another example of an old painting in the Met collection of old masters.
Domenico Ghirlandaio was another Italian painter born in Florence in 1448 died young in 1494. Ghirlandaio ran a large efficient workshop that included his brothers Davide and Benedetto.
Also his brother in law Bastiano from San Gimignano. Later Domenico own son Ridolfo joined him in his workshop.
Many apprentices passed through his workshop including the famous Michelangelo. Ghirlandaio’s talent lay in his ability to depict contemporary life and portraits of contemporary people.
His abilities brought him great popularity and some very large commissions. Some of his notable works
are in Santa Trinita, the Church of Ognissanti and the Sistine Chapel.
The number one painting in the Met’s top 20 is Young Woman with a Water Pitcher (1662) by Johannes Vermeer. It is said the painting is more than a domestic idyll, it’s a state of grace.
Vermeer was a dutch painter was born in 1632 and died at the very young age of 43 in 1675. Vermeer produced a relatively small number of painting perhaps only around 45.
Vermeer’s paintings commanded high prices and he was able to support his wife and eleven children. Then the dutch economy of the early 1670’s was so dismal it made his last few years miserable.
When it comes to old masters, their accomplishments are endless and their their legacy as well as their paintings will live on in places like the Met for everyone to enjoy.