Google Doodle Honors Metropolitan Museum of Art on Its 151st Anniversary

Today's Google Doodle celebrates the 151st anniversary of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, one of the world's largest and most notable art museums.

The Doodle features a cartoon ground plan of the famous Central Park building, along with rotating gifs depicting some of the contents of the collections held within.

The museum, often called simply "The Met", was founded in 1870 by a group of American citizens—businessmen and financiers as well as leading artists of the day—who wanted to create a museum to bring art and art education to Americans.

Some of its most famous works include Caravaggio's 'The Denial of Saint Peter' and the 'Venus Italica' sculpture.

On this day (April 13) in 1870, the museum was officially incorporated and soon after acquired its first work of art: a Roman sarcophagus.

The artist behind this latest Doodle, Erich Nagler, began working on its design last year, to celebrate the Met's 150th anniversary, but had to postpone due to the pandemic.

Google Doodle Metropolitan Museum
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 151st anniversary of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Google/Erich Nagler

As New York's largest art museum, its permanent collection consists of more than 1.5 million objects, spanning over 5,000 years from all over the world.

Some of the museum's contents depicted in the Google Doodle include a Byzantine floor mosaic from 500-550 A.D., the armor of German Emperor Ferdinand I from the 16th century, an intricate traditional Lakota/Teton Sioux beaded dress, and the painting "Self-Portrait' by Samuel Joseph Brown, Jr. from the 1940s.

The museum is also a pop culture mainstay and an important cultural center in the city of New York.

Located, at 1000 Fifth Avenue, along the Museum Mile on the eastern edge of Central Park in Manhattan's Upper East Side, its striking gothic facade is instantly recognizable all over the world and millions of visitors flock to its famous steps every year.

It is also home to the annual Met Gala, formally knowns as the Costume Institute Gala or the Costume Institute Benefit, which sees celebrities flock to the buildings' famous steps for the event that has been described as the "jewel in New York City's social crown."

"Every exhibition hall seemed designed to transport you to another place and time," said Doodle artist Erich Nagler of his love for the Met.

"Turn a corner and you are in medieval Europe, then in ancient Japan, then in sub-Saharan Africa. Sometimes, on solo visits, I would wander the galleries with earplugs in, tuning out all the other visitors and simply soaking in all of the visual splendor."

Speaking of his process behind creating the Doodle, Nagler explained: "I started by sketching a bunch of artworks from the museum's fantastic collection online. As I was drawing, some of the artworks and artifacts reminded me of the Google letterforms. It was hard to tell the museum's story visually without including the landmark building as well, so I began drawing the architecture of the museum."

He added: "Finally, I tried to combine both the museum building drawing with the artwork drawings. The looping animation shows where the artworks are located inside the museum; this captures the serendipity and surprise of wandering the galleries and discovering these beautiful masterpieces."