The main entrance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC

One requirement of this course is a visit to the Ancient Greek or Roman Art galleries at the Metropolitan Museum in which you use either my podcast for Greek art and the Iliad or my podcast for Roman art and the Aeneid.  Just your going to the museum, taking one of these tours and completing the appropriate handout, is worth 10 points of your final grade.  Also, you may write your paper this term on either the Greek museum tour and the Iliad or the Roman museum tour and the Aeneid.  For either paper, see the special "Museum Topics" listed in Writing Assignments.  Make this required visit before May 2.  You can certainly take BOTH tours, and I will consider giving extra credit if you do so.  Don't try taking them both on the same day, however!  You'll develop "museum fatigue."


Before you go, check out the Met's Greek and Roman art collection at .  Click on this link: Greek and Roman Art.   Also find on this site various maps of these galleries.   

If you want to take the tour of Ancient Greek Art in connection with the Iliad download onto a CD or onto your mp3 player or iPod my podcast on the Iliad .  Print a copy of the map of this tour.  Get from me a copy of the Greek Art handout.  Go to the museum before May 2.  After walking the tour and filling out the handout, take the short quiz at  

If you want to take the tour of Ancient Roman Art in connection with the Aeneid, download onto a CD or onto your mp3 player or iPod my podcast on the Rome of Augustus and Virgil .  Get a copy from me ofthe Roman Art handout.  Go to the museum before May 2.  After walking the tour and filling out the handout,  take the short quiz at  

Before heading to the museum, read over the "Museum Topics" for either the first or the second paper at Writing Assignments to see if you might want to write on one of them.  Bring with you to the museum a CD player or your mp3 or iPod loaded with my podcast, as well as the appropriate handout and a pen and notebook .  


The museum is on 5th Ave between 80th and 84th Sts. Enter by walking up the big flight of stairs on 5th Ave. 

The Lexington Avenue train stops at Lex. Ave. & 86th Street (express and local); the C train stops at Central Park West and 86th Street; and the #1 train stops at Broadway & 86th St. The crosstown #86 bus goes across 86 St. from the West Side, through Central Park, and to the East Side, stopping just north of the museum at Fifth Ave. The 79 Street crosstown bus also stops at Fifth Ave. just south of the museum. From John Jay, take the #1 train to 86th St., and then take the #86 crosstown bus, using your Metrocard free transfer.  Get out at Fifth Ave.  If you want to drive, there is a parking garage in the museum (enter on Fifth Ave. just south of the museum building). It's expensive, though you can get a small discount by having your ticket validated when you get your admission button.


Tues, Wed, Thur, Sunday: 9:30 am-5:30 pm

Friday & Saturday: 9:30 am-9:00 pm  (These evening hours are not crowded, and there are snacks and free music on the second-floor balcony.)

CLOSED MONDAYS, BUT  on SPECIAL MONDAYS, perhaps Presidents' Day, Feb. 18, Museum is OPEN (and not full).

The busiest days are Saturdays and Sundays.


When you go, walk up the front steps.  Your bag will be checked as you enter.  You may check your coat and bag or wear them.  You must pay something.  DO NOT pay the "Suggested" fee. Give no more than $1-2.00.  As a CUNY student, you shouldn't have to pay at all.  Do not be intimidated by the admissions people.  You will then be given a receipt and a colored metal button for your lapel, which shows you have paid admission or been admitted for that day. The color changes daily. This button allows you to leave and re-enter the museum as many times as you wish in one day, so you can go outside to Central Park or to eat or to shop and then return to the museum later.  Save this button and your receipt to hand in with your essay.

The Ancient Greek Art exhibits are on the first floor to the left of the big round info desk in the center of the main hall as you come in.  (Ask at this desk for directions to any other exhibit that interests you, or ask the guards.)  Once inside the Greek galleries, follow my podcast as a guide to what you are seeing.  Fill out the handout as you walk around.

The Ancient Roman Art galleries are beyond the Greek galleries, which you walk through to get to them.  Follow the directions in my podcast.  Fill out the handout as you walk around.

As you walk around listening to the podcast, ENJOY what you're looking at.  Look slowly.  Consider the paper topics if yu want to write on one of these, and choose the objects you will write about.  Choose pieces that strike you as particularly beautiful and that also pertain to the topic you've chosen. Then spend time taking extensive notes on your chosen pieces of art.  Be sure you use quotation marks for material you copy from the museum's information on walls and in cases.   

Plan on spending at least 2 hours in the museum.

To prove that you went to the museum, hand in:

 Besides allowing you to write your paper on a museum topic, this visit will earn you an easy 10 points for your final grade since I give everyone who goes and adequately fills out the appropriate handout the full 10 points (the equivalent of an A).  



Here are some other exhibits you might also like to visit after the Greek or Roman galleries:

1.  The extensive collection of Egyptian art on the first floor to the right of the main lobby

2. Art of India on the second floor above Egyptian art. 

3. Chinese painting and the restful Chinese garden nearby are on the second floor above Egyptian art and beyond Indian art.

4. Medieval art and armor on the first floor. As ka guard for directions.  See tapestries of medieval scenes, and then go through the medieval art to the armor exhibit of knights on horseback. Kids love these!

5. The giant Christmas tree surrounded by Neapolitan Christmas figure (this is set up after Thanksgiving)

6. European paintings on the second floor at the top of the grand inner staircase at the back of the lobby. Look for paintings of the naked Venus (Aphrodite) by Titian and Veronese.

7. African art on the first floor.  Walk through the Greek galleries and at the giant pillar, turn right to walk into African art.

ENJOY!               ENJOY!                          ENJOY!


In addition to the advice on my podcasts, here is some advice for how to look long and carefully at an art object so that you see much more than you would at first glance.

First Impressions: What strikes you first as you look at the object? What attracts you to this piece? Look away for a count of ten. Look back. What more meets your eye?

Zero In: What details do you notice in the object? How are they arranged in relation to one another? What details do you not understand? Does the museum label help? If you can walk around the object, what details do you see on other sides? How do the different details fit together? Do they seem to tell a story?

Back Up: If you�ve been looking at the details, move a short distance away from the object and look at it as a whole. What more or what else do you see? How does this far view differ from the close-up view? Again, if you can walk around it from a distance, does the object have another side that presents anything further to your eye?

Fragments: Much of the art salvaged from ancient Greece was discovered in pieces that have been painstakingly reassembled. Does the piece you are looking at show any evidence of this process? If something is missing, how does this gap affect you as you look? What might the missing part be?

Other Physical Features: What about the object�s color? Shape? Size? Overall patterns?

The Maker: How might this piece have been made? (Use the museum labels and wall texts for help.) What tools might the maker have used? Can you see any evidence of these on the object�s surface? What do you think must have been difficult to do? Easy? Why do you think it was made?

Use, Location, Historical Context: How was this object used? Where might it have been seen? What other sorts of objects might have been with it or around it? Was it ordinary (Everybody had one) or unusual (Only the rich could afford it)? (Often, the museum puts objects together in the same case or area of a gallery that �belonged� together in their original ancient Greek context. Thus, kraters used to mix wine with water are displayed with cups for drinking the beverage.)

Look away, Go away: Stop looking for about 20-30 seconds. Walk away to another object. Then return to the one you�ve been looking at closely. What surprises you about this piece? What questions do you still have about it that you�d like answered?