‘In the stillness, my mind was able to wander’: how a museum guard found solace in art | Autobiography and memoir

When Patrick Bringley’s beloved older brother fell ill with cancer, he found that he no longer had much appetite for his ritzy job in the events department of the New Yorker. Life then was about hospital rooms and love and “all the very basic things” in this world; there seemed no meaning in hanging his jacket over his desk chair every morning. But what to do instead? In 2008, Tom died, and all Patrick knew was that he needed the kind of work that would not require him to scrap and scrape and constantly “muscle his way forward”. Soon after this, acting on a whim, he applied for a position as a guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and by the autumn, there he was in his uniform, standing next to Raphael’s Madonna and Child Enthroned With Saints – the first post in a job he would

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