Night At The Museum

A most excellent evening recently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (in New York City)! Of course I thought of all of you. I think of you often, and snap pictures, and then life takes over and they remain in my phone.

It was called The Grand Tour (symbolic of how, years ago, a young person wasn't fully educated until they had taken a year or so and traveled around the world (did I ever mention the Met is snooty? You must go to the NY Historical Society to get the other-side-of-the-tracks story). 

There were some great things going on: lectures (one on Medieval beekeeping!), demonstrations, live music, and receptions throughout the museum (all my favorite spots, the American Wing (sculpture), the Petite Sculpture Hall (European sculpture, including one of Perseus, Rodin's Burghers of Calais, and some things I've seen but had not ever paid enough attention to - a later post), the Temple of Dendur (which is a great place to hear a concert), and Arms and Armor (happy sigh!)

It was fabulous being there at night. I was quite taken by the artwork and how different it looked at that time of day.

I attended a presentation of armor (photos below), and learned:

Firearms predated plate armor by 300 years and they lived together for about 300 years. The first firearm was from around 1320 and probably came from the far east. Northern Italy and Germany were the main armor makers because of ideal conditions in their region (nearby water, ability to have heat from forrest nearby, water to cool armor being made).

These replica helmets (above) were made in Philadelphia and Austria.The presenter said there is always a battle (no pun intended) in museum-world about whether to show original pieces or to show replicas, which could then show the recently restored padding and straps.

The presenter showed up how flexible this gauntlet was; unbelievable -- it can move quite fluidly.

The mail on the table was enormously flexible, and was very much like fabric.

We learned how there would be more metal in the front of the helmet, to deflect arrows, and less in the back, to save on materials. We also learned that plate armor was brought about by increased use of the crossbow. And that they would be shined up nicely not just to look good, though that was a part, but to help result in a "glancing shot," that is a shot where the arrow, which is already at a disadvantage since it must hit the steel at exactly the proper angle and at its highest velocity in order to penetrate, glides right off instead of penetrating the armor.

This picture was taken in the gift shop. I have never seen it before but it's a field trip kids from a long time ago took, to Arms and Armor.

I'll post some of the sculpture another time. I want to see if I can find some daytime shots to compare the shots I got at night.


Grim said...

I am very pleased with this demonstration. The hall is filled with beautiful flags: do you happen to know to whom the heraldry belongs?

Eric said...

Grim! I am truly surprised. You don't recognize the knights of the round table?

I see on the right back to front: Bedevere, Percival, Hector de Maris, Breunor the Black.

on the left, front to back:
Galegantin le Galois, Bors (rendered badly) ,Gawain, Lancelot, and Palamedes.

Grim said...

I agree that the two with three bends each could be Bors de Ganis and Lancelot, and the purple and gold eagle could be Gawain if the eagle has two heads; but the last one appears to have a device on it, which I don't think Palomides' heraldry did.

Now that you mention it, though, the purple and gold flag on the left could be Perceval de Ganis's heraldry from that same tradition.

Ymar Sakar said...

Interesting demo

dellbabe68 said...

Just got back from vacation. I will try to find out about heraldy next time I am there! Glad you liked it.

I was in Nova Scotia and have some great shots of Cape Breton, a place I cannot say enough good things about. It's interesting the Highland Games are about to begin because this week those in Cape Breton are having a huge music festival (fiddling et al) which they have each year. What a great place. If I can figure out how to post some video, I'll post wonderful fiddling and drumming. Learned so much. Of course I thought of all of you.