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This free web series offers a fascinating look at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Explore the iconic museum's collection over the course of 100 episodes.

Written by
Howard Halle

With time to kill during lockdown, many New Yorkers are rediscovering the city's artistic treasures online, thanks to digital content being offered by the city's major art museums. There are virtual tours, allowing you to browse collections and exhibitions, as well as more granular features. One of the latter is a slate of videos posted by The Metropolitan Museum Of Art under the title "82nd & Fifth." Named for The Met's landmark address, the series features 100, two-minute episodes, each starring a different Met curator as he or she weighs in about a specific item in the collection.

The Met covers 5,000 years of art history under one roof, and accordingly, the selection of subjects vary widely across geography, culture and time. Each has a fascinating tale to tell as the curators examine their backgrounds and tease out their hidden meanings.

There's something for everyone's taste, from a dissection of an imposing set of ancient Assyrian bas-reliefs to a reflection on El Greco's view of 16th-century Toledo in Spain. New Yorkers in particular should find something very familiar in photographer Walker Evans's surreptitiously taken photos of subway riders during the 1930s and ’40s. Another episode delves into the unexpectedly dark side of The Met’s unofficial mascot: The small blue effigy of a Hippopotamus from Ancient Egypt known as William, an iconic part of the museum’s collection beloved by generations of children.

The entire series is fascinating and worth a look. If you want to learn more, check out the video below.

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