About the Collection
Drawings and Prints occupies a tiny space in the vast museum and one that not hard to find, but easy to overlook. The well-trod second-story hallway leading south from the Grand Staircase towards photography and European art is lined with a tiny selection of the Met's bottomless collection of paper-based works, including illustrated books, prints and drawings. All the great names from Western Art are present in the collection, but it is more likely that you will find a new favorite in the collection's rotating exhibits than see a predictable masterwork. In addition to the hallway and temporary space, selections from the Met's incomparable baseball card collection can be found in the American Wing.
What You Will See
Given the depth of the Print collection, which includes works from the great European Masters and names such as Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Rembrandt Goya, it is a shame that nothing is on permanent, reliable display. But centuries-old graphite drawings do not handle long-term exposure to museum light without consequence. Instead, the works are rotated through short, thematic exhibitions. The exhibitions rotate quickly, so even regular visitors to the Met can expect to see something new. Exhibitions can occasionally get academic and technical but are usually quaint and accessible, but both types are small and a good supplement to the Met's marquee exhibits.
Why You Should Go
Exhibits at the Drawings and Prints may not be the primary driver behind most visits to the Met. But consider it as a solid supplement to whatever else brings you here. An artist setting graphite or ink to paper was the first step in many of the projects that resulted in the other masterpieces that brought you here. Take a few minutes as you pass through the hallway to see the miracles a skills draftsman can create with the simplest of media. Start with the basics before you progress. Or just appreciate the simplicity of the craft. This section requires a tiny investment to reap the fullest rewards.