Museums: The MET

Museums are a treasure to the person who loves the study of history and art. Some truly magnificent museums have put out collections on-line; while the virtual museum cannot replace actually going to the museum in person, it provides the person who cannot travel so far.  Here in the United States I must sing the praises of the Metropolitan Museum of Art found in New York city.

I especially like the images that can be zoomed in upon, especially the textiles, until even the weave of the fabric can be seen. NICE!  For example: Here is a medallion of the Eagle representing the gospel of John. If you click on the image, you will get a screen that allows you to zoom in and take a very close look at the stitches in this embroidery. Another example is this Rondel with hunting amazons and a cross.  Again, click on the image and zoom in several clicks to see details in the weave.

Jewelry is where the MET collections shine best. They have a wonderful collection of Earrings, Necklaces, Pendants, Belt Buckles, slides and ends, and Crosses. FINDING what is there isn’t very easy if you are seeking Byzantine, but if you keep recombining search terms you can eventually find some truly marvelous examples to copy.

My biggest criticism of the MET is that searching for Byzantine items is made quite difficult because the 10th century items, such as textile fragments, are all classified as part of the Islamic collection. So when seeking specifically Byzantine and therefore Christian textiles, one must do a general search for Byzantine, THEN use the navigation on the left side of the screen to select Textile Fragments, and then scroll and scroll to find the images that are wanted.  I have not found an easier way.  There ought to be an easy way to specify Byzantine after selecting Textile Fragments.  I also tried to specify by geography and there is no heading for the range of geography that was Byzantine.  It is quite irritating.

For example, to find the Pendant/Brooch with the Icon of the Holy Mother on it, the search must be “Byzantine Jewelry” because if you search “Byzantine” and then select “Jewelry” from the “Object Type/Materials” menu on the left side of the page, you will miss this very typical Byzantine pendant type.  Nor does this necklace with an angel carving on the pendant show up under necklaces, but can be found in the “related items” category.

So when searching, do not trust that the MET gave you every item you wanted even if it fit your search criteria, look under “related items” and do a lot of creative searches. Otherwise you may miss exactly the item you wanted from their collections.