Today, April 13, marks the 151st anniversary of
the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And in honor of this occasion, Google has
dedicated a special doodle for its homepage, featuring artworks from the massive
collection of New York’s institution.
Originally, this doodle was planned for the 150th
anniversary last year, but it was postponed because of the pandemic. The
animated doodle was designed by artist Erich Nagler, who is the lead art
director of Google Doodles.
The animated doodle features digital samples from the Met’s
artwork collection, including a 13th-century terracotta sculpture
from the Inland Niger Delta region of Mali, a Chinese sculpture from 2nd
century BCE, “The Unicorn Rests in a Garden” (1495-1505), Jr.’s “Self-Portrait”
(ca. 1941), a 1800-year-old ornate Italian guitar form Italian, and a stunning
Mirhrab a.ka. Prayer Niche.
Each letter of the Google Doodle represents an artwork,
digitally recreating some of the institution’s most cherished sculptures,
painting, instruments and significant religious pieces, including historic
Underneath the works of art, the doodle also features the
Net’s Fifth Avenue building along with lines indicating where each object lies
within its galleries.
“I actually began working on this Doodle last year, to
celebrate the Met’s 150th anniversary, but had to postpone due to
the pandemic,” Nagler stated in the FAQ section on Google’s website. “I haven’t
yet been able to visit the museum since then, so my goal for the Doodle was to
try and recreate the feeling of visiting the museum from numerous past visits.”
The Met is currently holding a collection of more than 1.5
million objects from around the world, with historic pieces dating back to 5000
years. The museum held an exhibition “Making
The Met, (1870-2020)” last year to celebrate its 150th
anniversary. The exhibition was
originally planned for the spring of 2020, but the administration had to
postpone till august because of Covid-19 related restrictions.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art came into being in 1870 when
a group of American citizens – businesses, artists, thinkers, and financiers –
decided to establish an institution to bring art and historic education to the
U.S citizens. On the same day, the institution was officially incorporated and
acquired one of its first art pieces called a Roman Sarcophagus.
Mihrab (Prayer Niche)
Met’s anniversary comes right on time when millions of
Muslims around the globe are observing the holy of month of Ramadan. It is the
month where Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and indulge in various religious
activities such as charity and prayers. During this month, Muslims devote more
time to prayer and acts of charity, aiming to improve their deeds and
Met is also known for maintaining extensive holding of
Islamic art, including the iconic Mihrab.
Mihrab or prayer niche, was originally made for the Qibla
wall of Madrasa Imami, a theological school in Isfahan built just after
collapse of the Ilkhanid dynasty. It features intricate arabesque titles and
calligraphic designs, which are considered to be the earliest and finest works
for mosaic tilework. This mihrab, a magnificent work of religious architectural
decoration, is one the most significant additions in the Museum’s collection.
It features Arabic inscription of hadith of Prophet Muhammad
in Kufic script:
“Said [the prophet] (on him be blessing and peace): witness
that there is no God save Allah and that Muhammad is his Apostle and the
Blessed Imam, and in legal almsgiving, and in the pilgrimage, and in the fast
of Ramadan, and he said, on him be blessing and peace.”
The center of the niche features Arabic inscription in
thuluth script: “The prophet (May blessings and peace be upon him) said: The
mosque is the abode of every believer.”
In addition to Mihrab, following are the artworks that also
inspired the doodle:
Joseph Brown, Jr, Self-Portrait (ca. 1941).
Dress from Lakota/Teton Siox,
The Unicorn Rests in a Garden from the Unicorm Tapseries
Last year, the museum was closed for 202 days due to
Covid-19 pandemic, and attracted only 1,124,759 visitors, recording a drop of
83 percent from the previous year. But despite that, the museum still holds the
ninth spot in the list of most-visited art museums in the world.
Now that the virus is situation is getting better across the
country, it might be the perfect time to make our way to the museum and join
them in their celebration of 151st anniversary.
Whether you’re a regular visitor or heading to the museum
for the first time, don’t forget to visit a specific blue ceramic hippopotamus
called “William: from Egypt’s Middle Kingdom. It is the Met’s unofficial
mascot, and he is definitely going to be the highlight of your trip!
Happy anniversary to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, hope
you have many more!
And Happy Ramadan to all of our Muslim readers, hope you have
a wonderful and peaceful month!
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