The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan is considered to have one of the greatest encyclopedic museum collections in the world. In the scope of time and peoples represented, it is extraordinary! Interestingly, many cultures in the past did not even have a word for “art.” What they fashioned in wood, stone, metal, glass, or what they painted, often just represented natural expressions of their religious practices. (Insight Vol. 1 p. 1172) Yes, many worshipped ‘gods of wood and stone’ as some still do today. (Deut 4:28) There is tremendous value in exploring millenniums of religious “art” from different continents and witnessing the similarities and contrasts.
Some of you will remember when we got groups together to tour the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1976-79 when the temporary King Tutankhamun exhibition from Egypt was on display and later in 1986 when the “Treasures of the Holy Land” collection was on loan from Israel. (5/15/87w pp. 24-25) Since then we have established permanent tours with the help of brothers from the British Museum who have conducted similar tours there for over 30 years. Museum officials have worked closely with us for years in developing our tour program. You are welcome to join the many friends taking these tours each week from all over! As Jesus said; ‘the stones can cry out.’ (Luke 19:40) Using archaeology, accurate history, and the Scriptures, we will decipher the meaning of these stone witnesses. You will thrill to hear the faith-strengthening things they have to say!
Our 5 different Met tours will take you on an exciting journey through time, starting from before The Great Flood until our day. We will isolate key exhibits that relate to the Bible or in some way enhance our overall understanding of the belief systems of mankind. Even paintings from The Middle Ages onward contain valuable lessons for us in the “art” of using visual images as a powerful tool to teach and stir emotions. There was a time when most of what the great artists painted was simply a reflection of their personal beliefs or what was commissioned by powerful religions. You will see how this changed over time as men became more secular minded. Techniques used by the masters are exposed enabling us to better appreciate the incredible talent that goes into producing original art used in the publications of God’s people today. Without such forehand knowledge, it would be difficult to benefit to the full from a walk around the museum on your own.
Although each tour of our 4 tours is entirely different in its ‘look and feel’ we think you will find it fascinating to see how each gallery in the museum fits together like pieces to a great puzzle of man’s existence.