One of the world’s great art museums, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (usually referred to as just “the Met”) juts into Central Park. Its all-embracing collection amounts to more than two million works of art, spanning America and Europe as well as China, Africa, the Far East and the classical and Islamic worlds. You could spend weeks here and not see everything.

If you make just one visit, head for the European Painting galleries. Of the early (fifteenth- and sixteenth-century) Flemish and Dutch paintings, the best are by Jan van Eyck, who is generally credited with having started the tradition of north European realism. The Italian Renaissance is less spectacularly represented, but a worthy selection includes an early Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints by Raphael and Duccio’s sublime masterpiece Madonna and Child. Don’t miss the Spanish galleries, which include Goya’s widely reproduced portrait of a toddler in a red jumpsuit, Don Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuniga, and a room of freaky, dazzling canvases by El Greco.

The nineteenth-century galleries house a startling array of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art, showcasing Manet and Monet among others, and the compact twentieth-century collection features Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude Stein and Gauguin’s masterly La Orana Maria, alongside works by Klee, Hopper and Matisse. The Medieval Galleries are no less exhaustive, with displays of sumptuous Byzantine metalwork and jewellery donated by J.P. Morgan, while the Asian Art galleries house plenty of murals, sculptures and textile art from Japan, China, Southeast and Central Asia and Korea. Close to being a museum in its own right, the American Wing is a thorough introduction to the development of fine art in America; the spectacular courtyard reopened in 2009, studded with sculpture from the likes of Daniel Chester French and Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Other highlights include the imposing Temple of Dendur in the Egyptian section, and the Greek and Roman sculpture galleries, magnificently restored less than a decade ago.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

New York City features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

20 places to embrace the great outdoors in the USA

20 places to embrace the great outdoors in the USA

Whether you're dreaming of a week-long expedition or an afternoon spent in the sun, the USA is ripe with possibilities for an outdoor adventure. From hiking to…

16 May 2017 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
7 places to get off the tourist trail in New York City

7 places to get off the tourist trail in New York City

Ticked off New York City’s big sights and wondering where to go next? From sinking a pint in Brooklyn's Red Hook to sampling Italian delicacies in The Bronx, …

11 Apr 2017 • Stephen Keeling insert_drive_file Article
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month