The website of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is large and sprawling and full of amazing stuff, much like the museum itself. Also like the physical museum, wandering around and exploring is often rewarded with unexpected delights and treasures.
One of the treasures on the Met’s website is the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Essentially a site of its own within the larger museum site, the Timeline is an ongoing project, sponsored by three foundations and created and maintained by the museum’s curatorial, conservation and education staff, that currently catalogues 6,000 works and places them within the contexts of time, place and thematic essays.
The Timeline’s features can be explored from any of these directions, as well by links to world religions, and directly searched via search box or index. You can search for artists or works of art, and many are featured in pages devoted specifically to the artist or work, as well as within the larger thematic essays.
Most of the articles have images that can be enlarged or zoomed, and are linked to further images and information within the museum’s larger object database.
From the Timeline’s front page you can flip through panels of works, timelines or thematic essays, or use the drop-down menus at top for access to dedicated pages for same, across geographic areas via world maps, or find works of art through a detailed search box.
Once drilled down to a topic, you can also follow the links in the “Related” section to any number of additional lines of browsing.
A major time sink as well as a tremendous resource.