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Metropolitan Museum Of Art Trip Essay

1024 words - 5 pages

One of my personal favorite days of this semester was the class trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It was a long journey to get there, especially with having to walk all the way from Penn Station, but it was a nice day so I couldn’t really complain. Plus, it was worth it because I love museums. The Met is absolutely beautiful, inside and out. I could not believe how big it was and how many galleries there actually were. I can’t wait to go back and see all of them! Our trip mostly focused upon Greek and Roman art, and I found it to be thoroughly interesting. There was so much to look at that I didn’t know where to start. I was in amazement at all of the pieces and the fascinating stories behind them. The two pieces that sparked my interest the most were the marble sarcophagus depicting the myth of Selene and Endymion and the Etruscan bronze chariot.

The sarcophagus was on display in gallery 162, which was my favorite gallery. All of the sculptures in this gallery were Roman, but based on Greek or Hellenistic people or myths. This particular sarcophagus, according to the description, was dedicated to a woman named Arria who passed away when she was fifty years old. It was made approximately in the early 3rd century A.D. and was discovered at Ostia, Italy in 1825. It was beautifully made and finely detailed, which is a major reason for why I loved it so much. Also, the myth of Selene and Endymion is one of my favorites. Selene was the Titan goddess of the moon. According to Hesiod’s Theogony, Theia gave birth to her along with Helios, Eos, and Dawn. She fell in love with Endymion, who was a beautiful young shepherd. She wanted him to live forever and never leave her, but she then realized he could not be made a god. In turn, she asked Zeus to give him eternal youth. Zeus agreed, but also granted him eternal sleep. Every night, Selene came down and visited Endymion in the cave on Mount Latmos where he took his slumber. On the sarcophagus, Selene is in the middle looking down upon Endymion, who is being fed sleep-inducing poppies and a magic sleeping potion by a figure standing over him, most likely a god or goddess related to sleep like Hypnos or Night. There are many animals and small winged creatures along the front, including two huge lion heads bracketed on either side. On the right side, another Selene is descending in a chariot; while on the opposite side, the sun god Helios is ascending in a chariot. On the back, there is a scene of herdsmen in a field with grazing bulls and horses, most likely just adding to depth of the setting. This myth was probably popular on Roman sarcophagi because of the strong relationship between sleep and death. The scene of the pasture on the back could represent a peaceful afterlife, which everyone hoped to achieve in ancient times.

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