Would it surprise you to learn that the museum is hiding all of its more interesting secrets?


About Our New Tour

Come on this tour to learn about the scandalous, hidden backstories of the art that really bring the museum’s masterworks to life!

Advanced purchase necessary.

** Ticket price includes museum admission. Advanced purchase necessary.
Discounts available for seniors, students, and Met members. **


To most people it’s just a bust of a Roman boy. But to us it’s a portrait of Antinous—the beautiful youth who became the Emperor Hadrian’s obsession, committed suicide—or drowned in any case—in the River Nile, and was deified by the Emperor. This is just one of 150 remaining portraits of him, because he was worshipped as a god throughout the Roman Empire for the next 300 years!

Once you know the backstory of a work of art, you can never look at it the same way again. Those silk wall hangings? They actually portray a king’s mistress—one who was accused of holding black masses to distill aphrodisiacs, with dead babies cut open over her naked body. And that Renaissance patron, piously worshipping the Virgin Mary? In reality he was at the center of a giant pay-to-play scandal, losing huge sums of Medici money to get himself onto the King’s council.

On a typical museum audioguide, you’ll never hear these stories. That’s because art tours focus on the art as art—not the context that created it. But with our Hidden Secrets of the Met, you’ll hear it all: the messy, intriguing, fun side of history that makes art come alive.

We created this tour to reveal a different side to some of the Met’s greatest works: the political, the financial, the sexy, the scandalous. The sitters, patrons, artists and works themselves are all fodder for this grand sweep of Western art, during which you’ll meet:


  • The Renaissance painter-monk who married a nun—after she posed for him as the Virgin Mary
  • The most famous castrato singer of 17th century Rome and his lover, the Cardinal
  • The actress who became a mistress—and then rose to the top of society as the Countess of Derby
  • The lascivious 19th century nude that straddles the divide between art and pornography
  • The lesbian artist who portrayed herself as a man—smack in the middle of the Met’s largest painting

…and so much more. We’ll change your view of art and history, showing you how the respectable works of today are in fact the scandalous stories of yesterday. So join us for this exciting two-hour tour, and find out just how human great art can be.

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