An expanded version of The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Timeline of Art History – which can be found on the Museum's Web site (www.metmuseum.org) – is now offered online, as of October 1, 2001. The Timeline of Art History features works of art from the Metropolitan's encyclopedic collections, presenting them in a chronological and geographical format that gives browsers and scholars alike instant access to the art created at any given time in different cultures across the globe. The premiere segment of the Timeline, which was launched in October 2000, featured art of the ancient world, including works dating from 20,000 B.C. through 500 A.D. The newly expanded version – the result of extensive research and writing by a team of curators, editors, and scholars over the past year – carries the Timeline forward to 1400 A.D.
The Timeline of Art History has been generously funded by Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn.
Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan Museum, commented: "The essence of our mission is to share as widely as possible the greatest examples of human creativity from around the globe – art that reflects mankind at its very best. This enhancement to the Metropolitan Museum's Timeline of Art History – which has already proven to be a remarkable online tool for students and the public alike since its debut last year – represents intensive work by a dedicated team of curators and scholars within the Metropolitan, and brings the sweep of this tremendous project up through the year 1400. This is a unique and powerfully effective learning tool, and we owe its existence and its continuing growth to the vision and generosity of our benefactors Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn."
Approximately 500 additional works of art, and 1,750 new pages, have been added to the Timeline to cover the period from 500 to 1400 A.D., augmenting the initial presentation of around 400 works of art and 1,000 pages for the pre-500 A.D. period. The new material includes detailed maps and descriptive entries written by the Museum's curators, who for this phase of the project are primarily from the Metropolitan's departments of Ancient Near Eastern Art, Asian Art, Greek and Roman Art, Islamic Art, Medieval Art and The Cloisters, European Paintings, Islamic Art, Arms and Armor, The Costume Institute, and the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. As before, the entries navigated chronologically, geographically, and thematically enhance the comprehensive timeline reflecting the geographic, cultural, and historical sweep of the world's civilizations. From a global overview presenting all regions simultaneously, one can easily and quickly focus on a specific culture, region, or theme at a particular moment in history. Links to other features of the Museum's Web site, such as the Collection, Explore & Learn, and Online Resources, offer the opportunity to go into even greater detail about a period, region, or related works of art in the individual collections. Alternatively, those looking at individual works in the Collections component of the Web site can quickly link to the Timeline to get an overview of the context in which a specific work was created.
Like the Metropolitan's collections, the Timeline will continue to evolve as new
works are acquired by the Museum. The next segments – featuring works up to the present day – will be launched in phases, with the next enhancement due to feature art created between 1400 and 1600 A.D. and to launch online in fall 2002.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Web site (www.metmuseum.org) was launched in October 1995 and substantially redesigned in January 2000. It receives an average of 20,000 visitors per day. In addition to the Timeline of Art History, the Web site provides Internet users throughout the world with unprecedented access to the Metropolitan's collections, exhibitions, educational resources, calendar of programs, publications, shops, reproductions, and full range of activities and holdings. The site is visually rich with works of art from the Metropolitan's collections, and has special features created specifically for the Web site, including an interactive Museum calendar, Met Net memberships, exhibition previews, educational features, and monthly newsletters, as well as personalized areas in which visitors can, for example, store images of their favorite works of art and create a customized calendar. New features and information are added on a continuing basis.
October 19, 2001