I was stunned to have gotten a request for the photographs I took of the marble slabs decorating the façade of the Metropolitan Museum, when I visited.
The email was from Christine Van Blokland, who has the blog, The Curious Traveler. In conjunction with PBS, Christine is going to be doing a piece on those big slabs of marble. It won’t air until April, but Christine promised to let me know when it would be posted.
Oh, and I gave my permission for Christine to use the images. I’m flattered. I’d like to take all the credit, but a big part of it has to go to my Sony Cyber-shot. It’s a really nice camera.
Take a look at Christine’s site. There’s some good stuff, and she covers many different parts of the world.
I thought it strange that there’s slabs of stone on top of the decorative Corinthian columns on the façade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ve probably seen them before, but it struck me as odd that these slabs would be there. Below them is the heavily decorated stone; this stone has no carvings, just plain and drab, resembling mini-Egyptian pyramids. I thought that, since construction was going on in the front of the building, that maybe some of the stone was being stored up there, but that made no sense. Was this done to link the present with ancient Egypt?
In the gift shop, I checked a postcard of the building and, sure enough, the stone was up there. Now I was really curious. Was this deliberate?
It turns out that the façade of the Met is unfinished; those pyramids of stone were supposed to be sculpted into statues. According to an entry on The Gothamist, architect Richard Morris Hunt had intended for 31 statues to be carved above the columns, but he died before he specified exactly what figures he planned. His son suggested four large figures, but nothing was ever done with the stone so it is now accepted as part of the museum’s front.
It just looks odd.