the comfort of old friends

moss covered walls of Central Park near The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

moss covered walls of Central Park near The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

exterior of The Metropolitan Museum of Art on a gray day.

exterior of The Metropolitan Museum of Art on a gray day.

The Little Fourteen-Year Old Dancer with The Dance Class and Dancers Practicing at the Barre, all by Edgar Degas.

The Little Fourteen-Year Old Dancer with The Dance Class and Dancers Practicing at the Barre, all by Edgar Degas.

detail of Mada Primavesi by Gustav Klimt.

detail of Mada Primavesi by Gustav Klimt.

High C (Forte Chanteuse) by Georges Seurat

High C (Forte Chanteuse) by Georges Seurat

The Album by Edouard Vuillard

The Album by Edouard Vuillard

Saint Mary Magdalene or Holy Woman | French 1500-1525

Saint Mary Magdalene or Holy Woman | French 1500-1525

detail of Nasturtiums with the Painting "Dance" by Henri Matisse.

detail of Nasturtiums with the Painting "Dance" by Henri Matisse.

The Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii by Hercules Segers

The Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii by Hercules Segers

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On a recent trip into New York to visit my niece, sister, and my dear friend from college, I took a few hours and spent them wandering around The Metropolitan Museum of Art. As a textile design student in NYC in the 1990s, I would go to the Met on a semi-regular basis with the help of student passes and their amazing 'pay what you wish' entrance fee. Some days I went just to see my favorite painting, which was The Album by Edouard Vuillard. I would sit in front of it for a while and then head home. What a luxury – to be able to have the time and easy distance, to visit this museum whenever my heart desired. Memories of those pre-internet days, when a glimpse of a favorite painting were not a keystroke away, are so dear to me. I loved that in order to research a textile or sculpture, I had to go in person to see it, and then spend hours in the library hand writing notes, which I would type into a finished paper on my little portable word processor. There was a great sense of adventure and satisfaction in the long process. I noticed on this recent visit, that while I still love The Album by Vuillard, it's not so much the painting that I love now, but the vivid memories of how it made me feel on my frequent visits. It's comforting seeing it and being in a place where I spent so much un-rushed time. It's like sitting with an old friend or visiting the home of a beloved relative where you spent content days as a child. Each time I visit The Met as an adult, I find new favorites and am struck by the peacefulness of a place that is always so crowded with people. If you're lucky enough to enter an empty gallery, as I did when I happened upon The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer, the stillness and wonderment of being alone in the company of such awe-inspiring art, is a gift that feels bestowed directly from the artists themselves. 

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