Tour A: Introduction

History of the Metropolitan Museum of  Art


My Highlights Tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art begins at the “Clock” in the Main Hall where visitors assemble at the start of every guided tour. This is where I give my visitors a short introduction to the history of the Metropolitan Museum.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, at a time when Americans, particularly New Yorkers, were making vast sums of money in business and private enterprise. They were traveling frequently to Europe and becoming introduced to the world’s great art collections in Royal Palaces and felt that the time was ripe to found a museum in New York through which they might become better educated about Art and be able to acquire it for their own personal collections.

The construction of the Museum was started in 1870. Over the next decade, it slowly took shape according to the principles of Neo-Classical architectural design. Borrowing from the Classical architecture of Greece and Rome, this style is exemplified by broad staircases, grand halls, cupolas and domes, elegant arches and pillars in the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian styles. There is also a great deal of ornamental moulding to be seen particiularly along the grand staircase with its solid balustrades that lead to the second floor.  In which stairwell, one might also see some fabulous examples of stone carvings in bas-relief.

Over the next 130 years, the Museum expanded rapidly as its impressive collection grew. As architects in the twentieth century envisioned the museum, its design became far more Modernist, indeed even Futuristic. The newer sections in the museum certainly reflect this changing archictectural aesthetic and we shall pause to reflect on the interior spaces as we move through the museum’s various sections. Today we have 13 square miles of gallery space and at least 3 million objects on display at any given time. We also place on display significant items for a limited time from the world’s other art museums during our special exhibitions and often loan out parts of our collection to traveling exhibits overseas. The museum is fully equipped with its own libraries that offer endless research possibilities for art historicans, scholars and curators and a large number of education programs exist to better inform the general public about the fascinating world of Art and Collecting.

The flower arrangement in the center of the Main Hall and the four supplementary arrangements that flank it come to us as a  lifetime’s endowment from the Lila Acherson Wallace Foundation and the Readers Digest Corporation. For as long as the museum stands, we will continue to receive the money that permits us to change the arrangement once a week on Monday when the museum is closed to the public. The arrangements superbly reflect the changing seasons through the ingenious use of flowers and foliage.

Come with me now on a tour of some of the most prestigious items in the Metropolitan Museum’s permanent collection.

Click here to get to the European Paintings section to see The Death of Socrates by Jacques-Louis David.

The Death of Socrates

The Death of Socrates


Researched by Rochelle Almeida

Artist: Jacques-Louis David (French 1748-1825)
Oil on Canvas
51 X 77 ¼ in.
France, 1787

What is the Story Depicted in the Painting:
It features, as its central character, the Greek philosopher Socrates (469-399 BCE), who was accused by the Athenian government of denying the gods and corrupting the young. Imprisoned by the authorities, Socrates was offered the choice of recanting his teachings or accepting the finality of death by swallowing a cup of hemlock. David depicts Socrates at the moment of his death, calmly accepting the poison that will put an end to his life, but continuing with his last breath to stand steadfastly by his convictions as he preaches to his attendant disciples. The execution took place at the Agora jail in 399 BC at the end of a long day that Socrates had spent discussing the immortality of the soul with his disciples.
Who was the artist?
This arresting oil on canvas was painted in 1787 by Jacques-Louis David, considered the foremost French painter immediately prior to the French Revolution. The fact that it depicts the consequences of standing up for one’s beliefs and was completed a mere two years before the outbreak of the French Revolution, has led critics to assume that it contains a propagandist motive and that David was suggesting how important it was to fearlessly stand up for what one believed to be right.  When the French Revolution broke out, individual principles would indeed be severely tested against the popular views of the bourgeoisie.
Socrates’ Stance:
There has been a great amount of comment on the figure of Socrates and the stance in which David has portrayed him.  Not only is he the central figure on the canvas, but with one hand, he reaches out to accept the cup of poison, while the other hand is held up in the gesture of a preacher. This denotes that even at the moment of death, he was unafraid about espousing his teachings and did not flinch from its finality. The hand gesture suggests that Socrates was asking his disciples whether or not he should make a libation to the gods out of the cup. In other words, he suggests that perhaps he ought to pray to the gods for a safe journey into Hades.
David had several sources of inspiration for the depiction of Socrates.  But, overall, he has painted him magnificently in Neo-Classical style, with every detail of his anatomy quite splendidly portrayed. In the time of ancient Greece, what we call the Classical Period, statues were depicted as expression of human perfection.  Therefore, they were idealized in the magnificence of their anatomical details.  The eighteenth century borrowed this ideology and philosophy of aesthetic perfection from the Greeks and reproduced it in their works of art.  Therefore, their revival of this style was called the New Classical or Neo-Classical and David was one of its most well known exponents. Thus, Socrates is portrayed as a heroic nude. Though his intention was obviously to remain realistic, David seems to have gone overboard in painting the anatomy of Socrates with such perfection (bulging biceps, firm taut abs!) for the philosopher was an old man during this stage in his life and could hardly have been so well endowed physically! But, his muscular torso resembles statues of Greek heroes and athletes, thereby symbolizing Socrates great moral strength and virtue.
Visual and Aesthetic Elements:
The figure of Socrates seems to divide the canvas in half.  On the left side, one sees shades of darkness and gloom.  Characters are only dimly portrayed.  The grieving group ascending the stairs in the background is said to be led by Xantepe, Socrates’ wife, who has just bid her husband farewell.  The darkness of this side could symbolize the loss of knowledge that the world would endure after Socrates died. On the right side of the canvas, more color dominates in the garments of the mourning disciples, though these colors too are ‘greyed’, symbolizing their subdued mood on the death of their teacher.
One is struck by the realistic detail of the composition. Notice the cold dampness of the walls and floor of the dungeon depicted through the use of gloomy grey.  Notice the raw redness of the bare feet of Socrates and his attendants, as also the bulging calves and the protruding veins on their legs and feet.  As if to confirm that he is indeed in a dungeon, we see the shackles that have just been removed from his feet and the bars at the high windows.
Secondary Figures:
The group of disciples on the right side of the canvas is also very striking.  They are seen openly mourning the death of their beloved master.  David makes their distress clear by depicting them as clinging for strength to one another, wailing openly and breaking into tears.  One is struck by their rather elderly appearance, but then one realizes that the Greeks did not waste education on youth—or indeed on women!  They are sorry to see their teacher go, but are powerless to prevent his death.  David has portrayed them dressed in the garments of the Classical Greek period.
As a contrast, at the foot of the bed sits Plato, dispassionate and composed.  He seems to have learned well from his master that one has to accept with serenity the inevitable—that which cannot be cured, must be endured. Plato, Socrates’ best-known disciple was born in 427 BC, so he would have been only 28 years old at the time of Socrates’ death.  However, he is deliberately portrayed as greyed and elderly to symbolize his traumatic suffering and his silent grief.  His pensive silence denotes his profound, melancholic meditation.  Socrates’ last moments on earth are known to us through the pen of Plato.
General and Concluding Comments:
David believed that art should portray life as closely as possible and so there are no brush strokes at all to suggest that this might be a painting.  This explains why the picture was an immense success at the Salon of 1787 (Cantinelli).
Bailey, Colin B.  The Loves of the Gods:  Mythological Paintings from Watteau to David, New York, 1992, pp. 509-510.
Cantinelli, R.  Jacques-Louis David 1748-1825. 1930, pp. 24, 104.
Holma, K.  David:  Son Evolution et Son Style. 1940, pp. 50.
Kimmelman, Michael.  “At the Met with Leon Golub and Nancy Spero”.  New York Times (January 5, 1966), p. C5.
Mantz, P.  Exposition en faveur de l’oeuvre des Alsaciens et Lorrains, Gaz, des B-A, per. 2, X, 1874, pp. 200-202.
Robin, l’A.  L’Ami des artistes au sallon, 1787, p. 36-38.
Rosenblum, R. Transformations in Late Eighteenth Century Art, 1967, pp. 73-76, 103, 125.
Rousseau, T, Jr. “A Guide to the Picture Galleries”, M.M.A. Bulletin, XII, part 2, January 1954, pp 6, 45.
Sterling, C. A Catalogue of French Paintings XV-XVIII Centuries, M.M.A. 1955, pp. 191-196.
Zafran, E.M.  The Rococo Age:  French Masterpieces of the Eighteenth Century. Exh. Cat. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, 1988, p. 92.

Click to continue the tour to the Asian Gallery to see the Standing Gupta Buddha.

Standing Gupta Buddha


Researched by Rochelle Almeida

Artist: Unknown
Pink Sandstone Sculpture
Indian (Mathura, Uttar Pradesh)
Gupta Period, 5th century.

Who is depicted in this sculpture?
This sculpture depicts Prince Siddhartha Gautama, better known to the world as The Buddha which in Sanskrit, the ancient classical language of the Indian sub-continent, means The Enlightened One.

Who was the Buddha?
The Buddha was born Prince Siddhartha in an ancient royal family, now a part of the territory of the kingdom of Nepal.  He lived from 563 to 483 BC, i.e. for 80 years.

What do we know about the background of The Buddha?
We know that his mother Maya became miraculously pregnant in the Garden of Lumbini in present-day Nepal. He was also born miraculously because he emerged out of her side instead of like normal babies. He was a prince and enjoyed a royal privileged lifestyle. He was married and had a child. Being sheltered since the time of his birth, he had no notion of human suffering or want and, as an adult, he was exposed for the first time to a sick man, an old man and a dead man. This exposure made him aware of the existence of sickness, age and ultimately death. This realization prompted him to leave the palace and attempt to find an end to such suffering. He became an ascetic himself, leaving the palace quietly in the dead of night.

For the next six years, he tried to find an end to human anguish. He ate only 6 grains of rice a day and became completely emaciated. It was then that he realized that neither wealth nor poverty was the way to Enlightenment, but the Middle Way. Finally, he sat under the Bodhi (Fig) tree to meditate. Then, Mara, the God of Death grew nervous because Siddhartha was getting too close to escaping Death and so Mara sent out three temptations to lure the Buddha away—Ignorance, Lust or Passion and Fear. But Siddhartha remained immune. He reached his hands downwards to touch the earth to signify that he had attained Nirvana or had reached Enlightenment. He was 35 years old when he reached Enlightenment and preached his first sermon in Deer Park. He lived for 45 years more, performing miracles and preaching his new message of brotherhood of all men and ahimsa or non-violence towards all living beings.

 He is said to have eaten either tainted pork or mushrooms, contracted food poisoning and died. His remains were cremated and were placed in stupas (Buddhist temples) all over. The statue of the Reclining Buddha that is seen in many stupas all over the world is a representation of the Buddha on his deathbed.

Of what material is this statue made?
This statue is made of mottled pink (sometimes referred to as red) sandstone which is plentifully quarried all over the northern Indian sub-continent. It was carefully hand sculpted.

When was this statue sculpted?
This was probably made in the 5th century A.D. when the spread of Buddhism all over the Indian sub-continent was substantial and when pink sandstone panels depicting the life of the Buddha and statues attesting to his divinity were made to spread the faith. This red or pink sandstone sculpture had a great impact both historically and artistically, marking the first figural representation of the Buddha.

Why was such sculpture made?
It was apparently developed as a means of preserving Buddhism, then the foremost religion in Central Asia, from the onslaught of two religions—Hinduism and the then new faith, Christianity. The story of the Buddha in stone sculpture made Buddhism more romantic and more accessible to people who were faced with the representational gods of Hinduism—Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu and the compelling figures of Jesus on the Cross and the Virgin Mary which, in art form, could grip their imagination.

What is Gupta Art?
The Gupta Period  (early fourth to early sixth century), often referred to as India’s Golden Age, left the indelible print of India’s culture on the civilization of its neighbors and established an apogee against which later Indian dynasties measured their accomplishments. Cultural achievements reached unsurpassed heights, literature and the arts and sciences flourished under lavish imperial patronage. Reflecting the new rationalism and humanism that permeated all aspects of Gupta culture, art forms and style developed that provided the prototypes for areas quite distant from the subcontinent.

In sculpture, the period fostered a new naturalism as well as a harmonious ordering of a new vocabulary of forms. The highly refined system of aesthetics produced softer, gentler curves, fluid transitions from volume to volume and a sustained and complete harmony of smoothly flowing forms.  Disciplined by a strict geometric rationalization in the fifth century, this system evolved into one of humanity’s greatest art styles—the classic Gupta style.

What are some of the significant aspects of this statue?
This statue exudes monumentality. This is a representation of the Shakyamuni Buddha, i.e. the Sage of the Shakya clan because Siddhartha was a member of the Shakya clan. Images of the Buddha were not created until 500 years after the Shakya dynasty and so nobody really knows exactly what the Buddha looked like.

Why then is the Buddha usually depicted in a very stylized way all over the world?
The Buddha was said to have been born with 32 major and 80 minor signs to show that he was a Universal Being. Some were a result of his royal birth, others were acquired through his lifetime. For example, there is the bump at the top of his head (Ush Nisha) that shows his expanded wisdom—his Enlightenment, which made him smarter than anyone else.  Again, when he chopped off his hair, it automatically formed snail-like curls around his head. Hence, the Buddha is also depicted with this typical coiffeur. Also, he has a round dot on his forehead which also signifies his omniscient wisdom. His elongated ear-lobes are a result of the fact that, according to legend, when he gave up his royal lifestyle to become an ascetic, he removed his heavy gold ear-rings which left his ear-lobes extended. Furthermore, the Buddha is usually depicted with webbed finger and toes (neither or which are visible on this statue as it has suffered considerable damage). These signify the fact that he scooped people up before they fell as a result of their bad deeds. Images of the Buddha were shipped all over the eastern world to spread the faith and the webbed fingers and toes tended to travel better (they remained intact) than those statues that had individual fingers and toes.

What other aspects of this statue should we note particularly?
Every features of this statue is indicative of the Buddha’s divinity. The anthropomorphic representations of the Buddha developed during the reign of King Kanishka, the most famous of the Kushans at the end of the first century A.D. or the beginning of the second century and was destined to sweep the entire Eastern world.

The Buddha’s serene face is composed of full-rounded volumes (what is sometimes referred to as the Mathura pudginess) and smoothly interlocked shapes that from a skillfully balanced totality. Its fulsome appearance, with rounded cheeks, fleshy lips, almond-shaped eyes and high, gracefully arched eyebrows, is heightened by the potent curve of the loop of the upper hem of the garment below the neck.

He has eyebrows that are shaped like archers’ bows. His eyeballs are sculpted in the shape of lotuses or water-lilies, the national flower of India. His nose is shaped like a parrot’s beak. His lips are like ripe fruit, his chin is in the form of a mango.  The three lines around his neck imitate the shape of a conch shell, used in a lot of Indian sacred rituals.  His upper torso is made to look like the head of a cow, an animal sacred to Hinduism.

What about his clothes and accessories?
The Buddha, like all monks, is depicted as wearing two robes—an undergarment tied with strings which is sculpted so elegantly that the artist has made stone appear to have transparency, and an over garment.

The Buddha had a huge halo around his head (to signify his holiness) of which only a tiny part remains. Right behind his ears are sculpted the petals of a lotus, a flower that
blooms beautifully in the muck—signifying the fact that even out of the muck can emerge beauty. Thus, from out of the muck of life, one can still get a Buddha.

The Buddha is also presented bare footed  because he traveled everywhere on foot after he left his father’s palace, never once riding a horse again.  Hence, even today, all over the world, Buddhist monks travel from place to place on foot.

What do his hand gestures signify?
Both wrists on this statue had been destroyed, but the right hand was sculpted to be held upwards in the gesture signifying Abhaya Mudra which means Fear Not. The left hand would have reached downwards, signifying the gesture of gift-giving. Thus, this figure of the Buddha reassures and rewards the believer.

What else can we state about the iconography of the Buddha statues?
The iconography of the Buddha as a Graeco-Roman figure started in the ancient city of Taxila in present-day Pakistan and spread to Mathura, the southern capital of the Kushans, where it became more Indianized. As the pilgrims took this new figural art eastward from Mathura, the images changed.  No longer Graeco-Roman, no longer Indian, these sculptures adopted both the dress and physiognomy of Burma, China, Southeast Asia and eventually Japan. Thus, the revolutionary Graeco-Buddhist sculpture of Gandhara became the accepted art form of the entire Buddhist world.

Some historians believe that Gandharan art (of which this statue is a fine example) came about through the descendants of Greek artisans and sculptors brought to the Greek satrapies or colonial territories by Alexander the Great around 327-326 BC. These made their way into Gandhara where they carved the figures, especially in the area of Taxila where the art was basically Graeco-Roman.

This then is the great contribution of Gandharan art under the Kushans; the development of the Buddha image, an art form that must be considered one of the important in the history of Asia.

Orzac, Bebe Fleiss and Edward S:  “Gandharan Art of Central Asia”. Arts of Asia. January-February 1983, 78-88.

Selig, Catherine: “Art of South and South East Asia”. From class notes taken during lecture delivered to Highlights Trainees in the Galleries on February 26, 2001.

Continue the tour of the Asian Galleries to enter The Ming Scholar’s Garden of the Astor Court

Ming Scholar’s Garden

The Ming Scholar’s Garden of the Astor Court


Researched by Rochelle Almeida

Why is this space called the Astor Court?
The space usually referred to as The Astor Court is actually a Chinese Ming Scholar’s Garden but is so called because it was made possible by an endowment from Mrs. Brooke Astor.

Who is Brooke Astor?
Brooke Astor, a trustee of the MMA was one of the moving forces in the 1970s behind the reinstallation of the permanent galleries for Asian Art. She herself had lived in Peking, China, from the age of five until ten and had fond memories of tranquil gardens courts within the crowded city. It was she who suggested that a space of this kind should be included as a place of respite and contemplation for those visiting the conventional Asian galleries.

Significance and Meaning of Yin and Yang in Chinese Garden Courts:
The entire space exemplifies the importance of the Chinese concept of yin and yang (pronounced yong). This is basically a conceptualization of the world that underlies much Chinese thought and art.  It recognizes the duality and the contrast in the nature of all things.  Let’s look at some of the elements that embody this duality and the contrasts:

Moon Gate:

Even before you enter the garden, you must pass through what is called the Moon Gate. This is partly rounded and partly straight. It is made partly of dark stone and partly of light.  As it draws you inside, it reveals only a small part of the interior.  It frames a rectangular doorway (another contrast of shapes) through which successive spaces defined by colonnades and an alternating pattern of light and dark might be seen.  The plaque just above the doorway in Chinese calligraphy reads: In Search of Quietude.

Now that we are inside the garden, let us examine some of the main elements that make up its composition:

Materials and Construction and History of the Installation:
All the materials used in this court are native to China from the wood of the covered promenade and pavilion, to the flooring, rocks and plants. Skilled craftsmen created each individual component and then a team of 27 Chinese engineers were brought to his country to carry out the installation. They took five months, from January to May of 1980 to assemble this space, and then returned to China. No nails at all were used in the structures or in the furniture within the Reception Room.  The hallmark of ancient Chinese wood construction which used complex joinery instead of hammers and nails were used to create these structures.
There are four kinds of wood used in the Astor Court.  The lattice and railings of the Ming Room are of gingko and camphor; the beams are of fir.  Nan Wood, a rare species of broadleaf evergeen was used for the pillars of the walkway. Impervious to insects, Nan wood is prized for its durability and beautiful honey brown color.

Historic Influences on the Design on the Astor Court:
The design of the court is based on a small courtyard within a scholar’s garden in the city of Soozhou (pronounced Soo-Jho) in the scenic lake district, an affluent city on the Grand Canal.  This is how the court would have looked during the latter part of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), circa 1634. The Soozhou garden was called Wang Shi Yuan, the Garden of the Master of the Fishing Nets.

What is meant by the term “Scholar” in this context?
A scholar was an official of the court. His professional life was difficult and short-lived. He was required to uphold the Confucian ideal of unswerving loyalty to the sovereign, including the responsibility to speak frankly and criticize other scholars.  At the same time, this might be viewed as treason and be punishable by death.  Hence, the scholar had to walk a fine line between observing and commenting on the regime without antagonizing anyone. Little wonder that for escape from his stressful life, he would turn for contemplation and serenity to his garden.

The Astor Court is laid out on a north-south axis as it would have been in China.

What do we see in a Classical Chinese Garden Court?
A Scholar’s Garden always includes five elements: Architecture, Rocks, Plants, Water and Calligraphy or Literature.

This court has three typical garden structures: a covered walkway, a half-pavilion along the west wall, and a small reception hall called The Ming Room, where the Scholar would receive his visitors and be able to gaze upon his garden.

Walkway: The symmetry of the court is broken up by the pillars of the walkway on one side. Notice that this walkway  is not straight, but involves a slight curvature which suggests that there is no straight path through life.

Half-Pavillion: This pavilion is made of tiles that came to us from China. A plaque above the vertical rock gives us its name: Cold Spring Pavillion, taking its name from the nearby pool.  It is called the Beautiful Lady Pavillion.

The Ming Room: The moon watching terrace, what we call the Ming Room, is filled with magnificent 15th and 16th century Ming furniture and objects. It faces south, as does the most important seat within—that of the Scholar himself.

These are elements of architecture in the design.

These  are found all over the garden and are central to Chinese landscapes. Rocks are seen in Chinese paintings, appearing as early as the 8th century. The term “scholar’s rock” is used to describe rocks of a distinctive shape, texture and color that were considered appropriate for display in a scholar’s studio. Rocks are replete with representational, symbolic and magical importance, evoking the grandeur of nature. A “good” rock reminds the viewer of the drama of mountains visited and stimulates the imagination. Described in literature as the bones of the earth, the rocks in this garden can symbolize the Five Sacred Mountains of China. The rocks here are limestone boulders—Taihu rocks, the most prized of garden rocks for their shape, size and color.  If craftsmen were not satisfied with a rock, they did not hesitate to improve upon nature’s handiwork; after sculpting a rock would be left in water for an indefinite time to erode and age and cure.


The bamboo plants represent moral purity and are plentiful in Chinese gardens.  Bamboo symbolizes the ability to stay strong in the midst of adversity—bamboo will bend easily in the wind but rarely breaks. It is hard, but hollow; lightweight, yet strong; utilitarian, yet graceful.

Rarely does one find flowers in a Chinese garden. If anything, we might see a few azaleas in the spring and perhaps some exotic orchids in the summer.


Water is indispensable in Chinese gardens, endowing the landscape with a visual and an aural treat. The viewer appreciates the delightful picture created by flowing water, but the sound is lilting and soothing to the ears and contributes to the air of serenity. The Chinese speak of water as nourishing, enriching and restorative.


Quotations from Literature are an essential feature of the garden court and denote the scholar’s own  preoccupation.  Poems which tend to be brief, suggestive and non-intellectual abound.

The Astor Court epitomizes the Chinese artist’s ideal—to achieve harmony through identity with the rhythms of the natural world.

Hearn, Maxwell: Gallery Talk to Highlights Trainees, March 5, 2001 (from class notes transcribed by Alix Devine).

Murck, Alfreda and Wen Fong:  “The Astor Garden Court and Ming Room”. Period Rooms in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1996.
————“A Chinese Garden Court:  The Astor Court at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: MMA Bulletin, Vol. 38, No. 3, Winter 1980-81.
Click here to continue the tour to the American Wing to see Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emmanuel Leutze.

Washington Crossing the Delaware


Though I also take visitors to see the gigantic painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emmanuel Leutze, my friend and fellow-Docent Elizabeth Kahn Kaplan, is an expert on the canvas. I would prefer to let her research speak for itself. My thanks are due to Liz for sharing her wonderful insights into this seminal work with me. The essay that follows is based on Liz’s findings.


Researched  and written by Elizabeth Kahn Kaplan
Painted in 1851 by
Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (1816-1868)

Oil on canvas; 149 x 255 in. (378.5 x 647.7 cm)
Signed and dated, lower right: “E. Leutze./Dusseldorf 1851”
Accession number:  97.34
Gift of John Stewart Kennedy, 1897
Location:  American Paintings, Gallery #223, Second Floor,      American Wing, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Before us is the largest framed painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art– Washington Crossing the Delaware — over 12 feet high and more than 21 feet long.  It is signed, lower right, “E. Leutze./Dusseldorf, 1851.”  The artist is a German-born American, Emanuel Leutze, who chose a grand theme to make a grand statement, on a grand scale. The lifesize central figure of General George Washington leads his ragtag army – composed of ordinary Americans, representing many different nationalities, as illustrated by their varied headgear, and more than one race – across the Delaware River from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. They will march in silence nine miles south through a blinding snowstorm to Trenton, to surprise and overcome a much larger number of hired German soldiers – the Hessians  – at their camp in Trenton. It is early morning, December 26, 1776, and the outcome of the battle to come will determine whether or not the cause of American independence will die that day.

The facts of the event:
In December of 1776, George Washington and his troops cross the Delaware River from Trenton to Bucks County, taking with them anything that might help the British in their pursuit. Following the manner in which war was fought at the time, each army went into winter quarters, the Americans in Pennsylvania and the British in New York and New Jersey. The British presence in Trenton is led by Colonel Johann Rall.

On December 25, Washington begins to cross the Delaware in the early afternoon. Ice in the river makes passage nearly impossible. It’s not until 4 am of December 26 that all of the army, including artillery, horses, and supplies, have crossed. In two groups — one along the Pennington Road and one along the river — the rebel forces march south.

On December 26, weary from a night spent responding to volleys from across the river in Morrisville, the Hessian soldiers sleep as General Washington sets his artillery at the northern entrance to Trenton. From this vantage, cannons can be fired down both King and Queen (today’s Warren and Broad) Streets. General Sullivan and his men fill the orchard behind the town’s barracks. As Sullivan begins shooting into the barracks building, Washington directs the cannon to open fire on King Street.

In short order the battle is over. Confusion reigns amongst the Hessian men. So total is Washington’s surprise attack that the Hessian leaders cannot even organize their men into cohesive action. Attempts are made to rally to the northeast and to the south. Over 900 Hessian soldiers are captured; another 150 die from their wounds, including the commander, Colonel Johann Rall. Washington and his men, along with their prisoners, return to their Pennsylvania quarters

Leutze began the painting some two generations after the event depicted.  Mid-nineteenth century America was enjoying rapid growth and industrialization, making its mark among nations, and Americans were looking back at their beginnings with tremendous admiration of the Revolutionary War patriots and a worshipful regard of George Washington, both as general and first President.  At the same time, the young nation was torn by tremendous friction between north and south over the issue of slavery — a division that would result in Civil War a decade later. The Black man in Leutze’s painting is meant to represent the MANY Black soldiers present at Washington’s crossing of the Delaware. Scholars have found that even New Hampshire, with a tiny population, had at least 180 Black male residents that served in the Revolution, most in the Continental Army, but others in the militia, the Navy, and aboard privateers. Oarsmen from Marblehead, Massachusetts under the leadership of Colonel John Glover who extricated the Patriot forces from Brooklyn after the Battle of Brooklyn Heights, rowed Washington’s forces across the Delaware River to engage the Hessians at the Battle of Trenton. The Marblehead regiment, in which so many seamen served, undoubtedly included many Blacks. Leutze’s inclusion in the boat of a black man makes clear his stand on the Free-Soil issue that divided his countrymen in the late 1840s. Both north and south revered George Washington, and Leutze hoped to remind Americans of his struggle to create the new nation, and how much would be lost if differences could not be settled peacefully.

Washington employed a largely ragtag army of volunteers and the tactics of guerrilla warfare to defeat the world’s most feared military power. His maneuvers to escape direct confrontation would be studied years later and serve as a model for Ho Chi Minh’s field commanders in Vietnam.  He exhibited the temperament for leadership in war and in peace.

This is American history painting as Mythology – as the artist wanted us to see it.  A traditional “history painting,” it depicts a contrived and exaggerated moment in history. History painting combines portraiture and action painting and requires a great deal of research.  The work provided psychological support for both Germany’s ongoing revolution in the late 1840s-early 1850s, as well as sending a strong message to Americans:  Hold onto the union; it’s too precious, created by the sacrifice of heroes.

The noble intention of every history painting is to provide inspiration.

The style is highly representative of a school of Romantic painting that flourished in Dusseldorf, where Leutze was living when he painted this picture in 1851. History painting was the highest calling for an artist; it combined portraiture with action painting; it required research.

Leutze used a number of elements to express this emotional, patriotic message.  The painting is a masterpiece of composition. The central grouping forms a large triangle, with the flag at the apex and the boat as its base; the pole of the man on the left defines that side of the triangle, leading our eyes upwards to Washington and then to the flag; our gaze descends along the right side of the triangle towards the man rowing at the stern. Leutze spotlights two elements central to his theme:  1), the steadfast leadership of a determined George Washington, who would become the first president of the new nation, and 2), that this event would culminate in separation from England, symbolized by the almost erect flag of the new nation.  It is held securely, and shielded, by 18 -year old Lieutenant James Monroe, as he struggles to keep the flag aloft as an inspirational symbol for the troops.  He would be wounded in the battle, be elevated to Lieutenant Colonel, and  live to become the fifth president of the United States.
Almost the entire upper half of the painting is suffused with light, surrounding and keeping our attention on these two main aspects – Washington and the flag.

Worthington Whittredge, one of the American artists present while Leutze was working in Germany, posed for the figures of both Washington and the steersman. The face was modeled on a cast of Jean-Antoine Houdon’s life mask of Washington.

The source of light is interesting. Leutze oriented his painting so that we face south as we look at the subject, in contrast to the usual placement of north at the top.  Pennsylvania is to the west behind them, with New Jersey ahead, to the east.  The little ship, crowded with symbolism, heads to the first light of a new winter dawn in the southeastern sky. It glows behind the two figures; had Leutze reversed the boat on the canvas, we would be facing north as we look at them, where the sky would still be dark.  This light is unnaturally bright around the head; it shines on the right side of Washington’s face, (Jean-Antoine Houdon’s death mask of Washington was the model for it) outlining his profile and casting little light on the side facing us. A second source of light shines on the face of the soldier in brown. It is the same light surrounding the central group, and casts a shadow on the water in the foreground – a distortion of nature by the artist.  Having light reflect off their bodies into the water, with painted shadows, gives a three-dimensional form to the figures, since our eyes know that when an object both reflects light and has a shadow it must also have volume. Without reflections and shadows, the figures would seem flat and two-dimensional. The sky is enhanced with a red, white, and blue rainbow behind the flag, heightening our emotional reactions to the painting.  And, if you look closely toward the dawn-suffused sky, a morning star is shining – another symbol of a bright new day.

Red encircles and highlights the foreground — as an accent on the men’s uniforms and other clothing reflected in the water, and to a lesser extent on the clothing of the men in the second boat in the background.  Colors fade in the distance, giving perspective to the painting.

Depicting motion is a technique painters use to keep our attention focused on the picture.  We know the boat is in motion; the oars are pointing in different directions; the boat rocks as it struggles against the wind, the currents, and water filled with menacing ice floes splashing against the boat. We know the boat is making headway because the oarsmen are struggling to keep the boat on course.  The flag, too, is moving, blown by the wind or the boat’s propulsion forward.  Only one element does not move:  Washington stands erect, resolute, focusing his thoughts on the future, not on the worries of the moment.

Leutze uses our sense of proportion to underline the precariousness of the men and the moment. The boat is far too small for the twelve men and the flag it carries.  In reality Washington used a Durham boat, much larger and carrying 30 to 40 people.  By decreasing the size of the boat relative to the figures inside, Leutze concentrates our attention on the physical struggle of the soldiers.

Leutze’s use of perspective creates an illusion of depth on the flat canvas surface. Objects and people in the background are smaller than those in the foreground. Colors are much brighter in the foreground; the second boat and its contents are painted duller shades to indicate distance.   Leutze’s use of atmospheric perspective is masterful. The atmosphere in the background accounts for the softening of details and diminishing of light and dark contrasts.  An atmospheric haze indicates the distance of the opposite shore.  There are no sharp contrasts or outlines; the faraway boats fade in the distance just as they would in reality.

Also to heighten our perception of depth, the upraised arm of the oarsman near the front of the boat is foreshortened; even his right arm seems a little shorter than it would have been if it was extended straight down instead of at an angle toward the viewer.

Leutze uses thick paint and choppy brush strokes for the ice; less so for the boat – we can see the grain of the wood. Smooth brush strokes create a seamless sky, with colors blended into a soft glow.  We are looking at the work of an artist in full control of his craft, fully achieving his objective.

Leutze also painted George Washington at the Battle of Monmouth, The Storming of the Teocalliby Cortez and His Troops (1848) now at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT, and Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way, which hangs in the U.S. Capitol.


I. Books and Catalogues

Boatmer, Mark M. III, Encyclopedia of the American Revolution. New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1966.

Catton, Bruce, Editor, The American Heritage Book of the Revolution. New York: American Heritage Publishing Co., 1958

Dann, John C., ed., The Revolution Remembered: Eyewitness Accounts of the War for Independence.Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980,

Dwyer, William M., The Day Is Ours!: November 1776-January 1777: An Inside View of  the Battles of Trenton and Princeton (How a Ragged Rebel Army Stood the Storm and Saved the Revolution. New York: The Viking Press, 1983

Fast, Howard, The Crossing. New York: William Morrow & Company, 1971
The Hessian: A Novel. New York: William Morrow & Company, 1972

Fischer, David Hackett, Washington’s Crossing. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Frank, Sid, & Melick, Arden Davis, The Presidents Tidbits & Trivia.  NY: Hammond Inc. 1984.

Franklin, John Hope, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans, p.77

Freeman, Douglas Southall, George Washington. (six volumes)

Gallagher, John J., The Battle of Brooklyn 1776.  1995

Groseclose, Barbara S., Emanuel Leutze, 1816-1868: Freedom Is the Only King. Washiington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1975

Howat, John K., Washington Crossing the Delaware.  Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, vol. XXVI, 1968 (March), pp. 289-299.

Ketchum, Richard M., Divided Loyalties: How the American Revolution Came to New York. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2002.Livingstons vs. Delanceys.

Lecke, Robert, George Washington’s War: The Saga of the American Revolution. New York: Harper Collins Publishing Company, 1992.

Library of Congress: The Papers of George Washington, Washington, vol. iv. p. 364
Logan, Rayford W., and Winston, Michael R., ed.  Dictionary of American Negro Biography, p.643

Lowell, Edward J., The Hessians And The Other German Auxiliaries Of Great Britain In The Revolutionary War. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1884

McCullough, David, 1776. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005.

McPhillips, Martin, The Battle of Trenton: Turning Points in the American History Series.
Morristown, N.J.: Silver Burdett Company, 1985.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art GUIDE, 2nd edition. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994, p. 24.

Mitnick, Barbara, ed., George Washington: American Symbol. New York: Hudson Hills Press and The Museums at Stony Brook, 1999.

Randall, William Sterne, George Washington: A Life. New York: Henry Holt & Company,1997.

Raphael, Ray, A People’s History of the American Revolution: How Common People Shaped the Fight for Independence. New York: The New Press, 2001.

Rogers, Joel A., Africa’s Gift to America, p.107, 110-111

Schecter, Barnet, The Battle for New York: The City at the Heart of the American Revolution. New York: Walker and Company, 2002

Spassky, Natalie, and others, American Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, volume II, pp. 16-24.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1985.

Styker, William S.  The Battles of Trenton and Princeton,1898

Wallace, William M., Appeal to Arms: A Military History of the American Revolution. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1951.

Other books:
Groseclose, Barbara, Emanuel Leutze 1816-1868, Freedom is the Only King. Washington : Published for the National Collection of Fine Arts by the Smithsonian Institution Press : For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1975.

About John Glover and/or the Marblehead Mariners
Beattie, Donald W., and Collins, J. Richard, Washington’s New England Fleet.
Billias, George Athan, General John Glover and his Marblehead Mariners
Smith, Phillip C. F., and Knight, Russell W., In Troubled Waters: The Elusive Schooner Hannah Waite, Henry E., Origin of the American Navy

II.  Metropolitan Museum of Art Gallery Talk
Schwarz, Alice, Education Department, Metropolitan Museum of Art/

III. Internet Web Addresses  Click on the links “Other Historic Sites” and “Other Links”

The Hessians

Prince Whipple and/or the Role of Blacks During the Revolution Seacoast NH Black History: Prince Whipple In American Painting.
For the most up-to-date research about Prince Whipple (who is NOT depicted in Leutze’s painting) Write to: Valerie Cunningham, African American Resource Center
369 Greenland Rd, Portsmouth NH 03801

Click here to continue the tour to see the Autumn Landscape Window by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Autumn Landscape Window

The Autumn Landscape Window by Louis Comfort Tiffany



Researched by Rochelle Almeida

Artist:  Louis Comfort Tiffany
Leaded Favrille Glass
11 ft X 8 ft. 6 in.
Tiffany Studios, New York, 1923-24
Gift of Robert W. de Forest, 1925

Who was Louis Comfort Tiffany?
Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) embodied  the artistic spirit of America’s Gilded Age. He was the son of Charles Tiffany who founded the famous Tiffany store on Fifth Avenue, but declined the opportunity to follow his father into the family business in order to pursue his own artistic vision. The half century during which he worked in the decorative arts, i.e. from the 1870s to the 1920s, was a time of great experimentation, intense scrutiny of aesthetic ideals and gave rise to some of the century’s most exciting art movements, such as Art Deco and Art Nouveau, to all of which he contributed. Refusing to stay in one medium, Tiffany experimented vastly working with stained glass, enamel, jewelry, watercolor, metal, mosaic tile, etc. and was thus able to showcase his immense talents as a painter, architect and designer of interiors and landscapes

When was the window created and why?
The window was a private commission for the residence of Mr. L. D. Towle of Boston, Massachusetts, a real estate magnate and was meant to be housed in the Gothic style manor house that he was building outside the city. The style of the building dictated the Gothic tracery design of the window’s frame. It was meant to be installed on the second floor landing. Tiffany worked on the window between 1923 and 1924, but, unfortunately, Towle died bankrupt, shortly before the showpiece manor was completed and the window was never installed in his home. In due course, the Director of the Metropolitan Museum at the time, Robert W. de Forest, purchased it and then donated it to the new American Wing of this Museum.
Visual Details:
The scene depicted in the stained glass window is of a stunning autumn landscape, ablaze with the glowing colors and rich textures of the season. Considering that it was to be installed in Boston, it is appropriate that Tiffany chose to depict the grandeur of New England during its most spectacular season. The subject is a river that meanders at leisure through a valley. Mountains are visible in the distance and in the foreground, the woodland landscape dominates, notable for its foliage as much as for its rocks and tree trunks. The glow in the distance suggests sunset, that time of day when the earth is bathed in a golden softness and every conceivable autumn hue from burnished copper to blazing red from scorching yellow to tarnished rust is set on fire and enhanced by the sun’s dying rays. In that sense, the earth colors of the palette are contrasted by the vivid turquoise, almost purple, hues of the river.

Methods and Materials:
The window is made of a pane of Favrille or iridescent glass, united by striped of lead and encased in a wooden frame. Tiffany was doubtless influenced by the stained glass windows of European Medieval churches and monasteries. But he took the art of stained glass beyond its eccelesiastical setting and brought it into secular interiors, changing the essential nature of its subject matter which traditionally featured saints and scenes from the Bible and depicting instead Nature’s stunning possibilities. Thus, in this scene, he presents the woods in fall. In others, he has depicted the stillness of sheltered bays and the beauty of wisteria trailing over cottage eves.
Tiffany manipulated virtually every available type of glass and technique to give his window this extraordinary verisimilitude:
–Mottled glass creates intense sunlight filtered through yellow and green leaves.
–Confetti glass, so called because it is embedded with tiny paper-thin flakes of glass in different colors, adds realism to the foliage.
–Similarly, the boldly colored and marbleized glass simulates the gray and white boulders in the center and the striations on the white birch trees.
–Ripple glass evokes the movement of the water in the foreground.
–By plating several layers on the reverse, the artist created the impression of distant, misty mountain peaks.
Louis Comfort Tiffany, through his studios and the vast numbers of artisans that were engaged in producing his designs, all of which he personally oversaw, created a massive inventory of decorative work, all of which has appreciated wildly with time and is highly valued today. This window is a fine testimony to Tiffany’s talents and skills as an artist and painter, designer and colorist.

MMA Bulletin. Special Issue on Louis Comfort Tiffany at the Metropolitan Museum. Summer, 1998.

Click here to continue the tour to see The Panorama of Versailles by John Van der Lyn

The Art Part

My Highlights Tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


In the American Wing with a large number of Visitors on one of my weekend Highlights Tours

One of the great joys of my life is my work as a Docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The word ‘Docent’ comes from the Latin “Docere” (to teach). Museum docents function as educationists who open up a world of Art History and Visual Comprehension to visitors.

When my daughter Chriselle left home for college and my duty as a full-time Mom was over, I decided to devote some of my time as a volunteer in the pursuit of one of the great loves of my life–Art–in the kind of environment in which I have always thrived–Museums. While some people might feel gratified in a shopping mall and others in a baseball stadium, my greatest sense of fulfillment comes from a day well-spent in a museum for I see it as an chance to enrich my knowledge of the world’s history while developing a sense of aesthetics.

Until I began my rigorous year-long training under some of the most perceptive curators in the world at the “Met” (as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is known), I was completely self-taught in Art Appreciation. My interest in Art was first piqued when I watched the entire screening of Kenneth Clarke’s series of TV shows called “Civilization” on Bombay TV while I was a fifteen-year old high-school student in India. I remember feeling deeply uplifted by the visuals, by his succinct and erudite commentary and by the classical music in the background that seemed to cast a spell over the works on view. Then, when I was eighteen and still lived in Bombay, I moved to a new neighborhood in suburban Bandra where my neighbor, an American named Roberta Skaggs Naik, was an artist herself who had majored in Art History in college in  the United States. The bookshelves in her home were full of glossy, coffee-table editions of Art reproductions and I poured over these treasures for hours while furthering my knowldege through long conversations with her. That was my first memorable introduction to Art History.

Over the years, I continued my education in notable Art by touring some of the finest museums in the world–among them, the National Gallery, the Courthault Collection, the Wallace Collection and the two Tate Galleries in London; the Louvre, the Musee D’Orsay, the Centre Georges Pompidour (Modern Art), the Musee Rodin and the Musee Picasso in Paris; the Kuntshistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria; the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam; the Uffizi Museum in Florence and the Vatican Museum in Rome, Italy; the Prado, the Riena-Sophia and the Thyssen Bornemissa Museums in Madrid, Spain; the National Museum in Washington D.C.; and the National Museum in New Delhi, India, not to mention the Museum of Modern Art and the Frick Museum in New York which I adore. In each of these places, I have taken Highlights Tours that have introduced me to the most important works in the collections.

I now feel privileged to have the opportunity at the weekends to share my knowledge with international visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Since the exhibits at the Met change periodically, our on-going training continues year-round, allowing me to constantly add to my fund of knowledge about great art.

For more information about the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York , please visit their website:

My Highlights Tour A

Follow me now as I take you on a tour of some of my own favorite works of art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.



This is the point where my Tour of the Met begins. Visitors assemble at the “Clock” on the main floor of the museum where I give a brief Introduction to the History of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


The Death of Socrates by Jacques-Louis David in the European Paintings Gallery.


The Standing Gupta Buddha in the South Asian Gallery.


In the Ming Scholar’s Garden of the Astor Court


In the American Wing with the painting entitled Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emmanuel Leutze.


In the American Wing’s Charles Engelhart Courtyard with the Autumn Landscape Window in stained glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany–my very favorite exhibit at the Met.


In the American Paintings Wing explaining The Panorama of Versailles by John Van der Lynn


At the Egyptian Temple of Dendur–the last stop on the Highlights Tour

My Highlights Tour B

I give two Highlights tours at the Metropolitan Musuem, each of which is completely different from the other. If you would like to follow me aroudn on Highlights Tour B please click here.


The Water Stone by Isamu Noguchi

Researched by Rochelle Almeida

Sculptor: Isamu Noguchi, Japanese-American
Black Basalt
American, 1986.

Who is the sculptor of this piece?
The sculptor of this piece is Isamu Noguchi, who was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1904 to a Japanese father, the poet Yone Noguchi and an American mother, Leonie Gilmour. He was taken to Japan when he was 2 years old by his mother to join his father until he was sent back to the States at the age of 14 for advanced schooling.  After a youth spent in Japan, Noguchi made America his base. But his artist’s attraction towards the Japanese aesthetic was strongly the result of his early history.

His sculpting career began in 1924 at the Leonardo da Vinci School on New York’s Lower East Side. He was converted to modernist abstraction after seeing an exhibition of Constantin Brancusi in New York.  He then received a Fellowship to work as Brancusi’s assistant in Paris where he learned to carve stone and wood and gained a rich understanding of the human figure.

When and why was this sculpture installed?
This piece was commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to commemorate the opening of its new Japanese Galleries in1987. Noguchi passed away in 1988, but completed this piece in 1986 and himself supervised its installation in this spot. We also know that Noguchi himself personally selected the stone out of which he carved this piece.

What do we know about its installation?
We know that it took Noguchi over seven hours to install this piece. Its enormous weight and the acute sense of balance required to set it in such a way that the water can trickle over the sides without displaying any ostensible movement, required it to be positioned just right. Noguchi said that the task was to set the rock in such a way that the flat top would be perfectly leveled in relation to the center of the earth.

Of what material is the sculpture made?
The sculpture is made of black basalt, a heavily veined stone. This single piece of stone weighs over a ton.

Visual Features:
The sculpture is seven-sided. It is referred to as The Water Stone as it functions, in some respects, as a fountain, constantly re-circulating water through its concealed central pumping device. This kind of feature is common in Japanese homes where a small water pump is placed at the entrance of homes to enable entrants to wash their feet and hands before entering. It is also a common feature of Japanese Zen gardens where the visual images of flowing water and the gentle soothing lapping are considering beneficial to the spirit.  Again, the incorporation of water is central to Japanese gardens. Hearing the sound of the flowing water before one actually sees its source allows one to make a gradual transition from the everyday world to the world of the inner spirit.

This is neither a square, a cube nor a circle. It is a seven-sided facetted figure. The piece is placed on a bed of rounded stones acquired from the Isey River, 200 miles southwest of Tokyo, near the site of Japan’s most sacred Shinto Shrine. The rounded stones lie on a bed of stainless steel also completely concealed.

What makes this sculpture so unique?
The uniqueness of this sculpture lies in the fact that it is not a static piece of stone. Indeed, it appeals to many of our sense simultaneously. There is movement, so it is tactile. There is sound, so it is aural. It is an arresting piece of work to the eye, so it is visual as well.

What’s more is that this sculpture has been carved keeping in mind the contrasting elements that are central to any understanding of Eastern aesthetics. There is the contrasting principles of the hardness of rock and the fluidity of water. Again, we have the rough and the smooth (the sides of the stone) which appeal to our tactile sense, the matt with the shiny (which appeals to our visual sense in its differing textures), the sharply angled sides of the sculpture contrasted against the smooth rounded stones of the base. Again, a man-made piece of basalt stone sits on naturally eroded pebbles obtained from a river. Opposites suggest harmony in the Japanese aesthetic. This coincides with the ancient principles of yin and yang—the dynamic balancing of opposites that suggest the human condition.

Peripheral Features:
The peripheral features that make up this little installation are also interesting and significant.

In the background, one sees the wooden screen which runs across. This was developed by  a Zen master to force you to focus on the stone. Zen is all about focus. The screen is also placed at the height of the entrance to a tea house. To approach the sculpture from that angle, one would need to bend down—in Japan, a gesture equivalent to the humbling of oneself.

The bamboo trees at the side are also an addition to the general air of Eastern harmony.

The pottery that surrounds the piece was made in kilns near Nagoya, Japan.  The ash on the top of the pot sparkles. This is not a flaw but a deliberate technique used to create this element.
Like the Astor Court, this little spot in the Musuem provides a quiet oasis of comfort and relaxation  so that viewers may retreat from the fast pace of a busy world and find a soothing center.
Blum, Felicia: “Japanese Art”. From class notes taken during lecture delivered to Highlights Trainees in the Galleries on March 12. 2001.