Describe the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History


Based on the joint project between BBC Radio 4 and the British Museum and written and presented by British Museum director Neil MacGregor, A History of the World in 100 Objects (2010) is a collection of podcasts that uses significant objects in the British Museum’s collection, organized by theme, to tell a story of human history. The creators of this program have selected objects, from a colossal statue of the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II to a credit card from the 1990s, to show how humans have communicated their shared values and beliefs through the creation of both sacred and utilitarian objects. See the following links for more on this collaboration and

For your Final Project, you will select an art object (a painting, drawing, sculpture, building, environment, etc.) from an art historical era of your choosing (Paleolithic era through early 20th-century & non-Western art) for inclusion in the course virtual museum, A History of Art in 16 Objects. The reason I have selected 16 objects is because of the number of you in the class, hence 1 object per student. You will develop a presentation on this artwork as representative of your chosen historical era. You will be arguing for this object’s place among notable artworks made since the ancient world and sharing with us why you believe this artwork belongs among the most significant testaments to human achievement in the arts. You will be providing both a visual description of your selected work as well as a description of the work’s historical context using information gleaned from a minimum of 3 credible scholarly sources. You will also be defining a few critical terms necessary to understanding your selection, as well as developing a question for your peers that is intended to provoke debate and discussion in the Final Project forum.

While the initial project was specific to the British Museum’s collection, you will be able to expand your scope outside of a single museum. Using Google’s Art Project as your collection database (see, you will be browsing through its collection searching by date, place, person, medium, etc. You must select an artwork not reproduced in your textbook readings for that week. Therefore, you should try to avoid selecting the most iconic artwork in the collection and explore lesser-known works. Really think about your selection and find something that you believe encapsulates what you’ve learned about this culture and era in this class! If you took LAA 101 with me and would like to research one of your selections for your initial museum project, that is fine as well. Just clear it with me first!

You may choose an 2D or 3D image, object or building from any one of these six cultures and historical periods. See the readings in your textbook for more on each period (although you may not select an image from your textbook) and the “Links” page under “Class Tools” for more art history resources.

Art of the Ancients (Prehistoric and Early Civilizations)

Greek and Roman Art

Gothic and Renaissance Art

Baroque through Realist Art

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this assignment, you will know how to:

•Develop a presentation on an artwork from a particular historical era

•Utilize credible online resources in the discovery and analysis of significant art objects throughout history

•Research scholarly sources to develop a more in-depth understanding of an artwork and the artist who created it

•Observe how history informs the visual construction of an artwork and how specific cultures and historical eras used works of art to convey shared and individual values

Task Description

•Go to This is Google Cultural Institute’s Art Project, a free online educational resource that offers high quality digital reproductions of works of art in worldwide collections. If you want a tutorial on the site, click on “Take a Tour” or “watch a video” at the top of the page.

•Browse through the online collection. Type a key word in the “search” bar or click on “Artworks” in the menu items. Within the “Artworks” page, you can search by category (e.g. medium, place, person, date, etc.) So, if you are interested in searching for Italian Baroque painting, for example, you can type “Italian Baroque” into the search bar and refine your search under “Artworks” by clicking on the above categories.

••Create a Google account if you don’t already have one. This will allow you click on select images for saving (click on the “+” sign at the bottom left) under the “My Galleries” page. Doing so will help you narrow down your choices.

••Once you have narrowed down your selections begin studying these works using these visual reproductions (zoom in on details) and clicking on “Details” on the upper left of the page for contextual information about this artwork. There, you will find a description of the artwork, where and when it was made, and in which museum collection it is housed. Clicking on the person icon to the right of the image title will take you inside the gallery where you can virtually stand in front of the object to get a better sense of its scale and general physical presence. Take full advantage of these features as you will need to have an intimate knowledge of everything about your final selected object!

••Click on the “Discover” link at the bottom of the page and you’ll see links to the museum where this work can be found, other works in Google Art Project from the same era and region, and other works by that artist in the collection. Spend some time noting similarities and differences among these works to give you a more broad understanding of the artwork’s stylistic and historical context. You can use this comparative information in your analysis!

••Google Art Project will not let you right click and save the image to your desktop. However, you should be able to either conduct a general Google search or go to the museum’s website and view and save the image their for importing into your presentation or paper.

•Select one artwork and begin your research

Research & Writing

•Once you have made your selection, you can begin researching your selected artwork. Begin by noting all information written on Google’s Art Project, including the details given about the object itself as well as all identifying information. Then, come up with your own observations about historical and stylistic context by looking at other images found using the “discover” link. Next, look up the museum’s website and research any information presented on the artwork there. Note any references made to scholarly sources.

•Return to the relevant pages in your textbook and note useful information about the artwork’s historical context. Consider similarities among other works either by that artist or by other artists from the period.

•Find at least 3 other scholarly sources that will give you more information about the artwork or artist and/or about the historical era (e.g. 17th century Italian Baroque). This should be an essay, article or other institutionally-supported educational resource (e.g. essay on a museum website). Simple Google hits not reviewed for accuracy and Wikipedia may NOT be used as one of your two sources. Find scholarly sources using one of the following ways:

1) Go to your D2L homepage and click on “Student Support” in the menu above. Then, click on library. Or go here If you enter your D2L ID and password, you can access e-books and articles remotely. Search by artist, style, etc. and if looking for articles, be sure to click on “peer-reviewed” to access good scholarly sources.

2) Visit these quality open online educational resources to research your object or artist:

a) Christopher Witcombe’s Art History Resources (

b) Best of History Websites

c) Smarthistory, Khan Academy

d) The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

•Develop a presentation on your select artwork that states why you believe this object worthy of inclusion in our class’s virtual art museum, as well as include an analysis of its stylistic and historical context. The presentation should combine both images, text, and resource links in dynamic and engaging ways. Use the following four questions to guide your research and analysis:

1) What is the select artwork in what art historical context does it belong? What can we learn about its particular history using visual clues embedded in this object?

2) In your opinion, how does this object communicate the values and beliefs of the period and culture who produced it?

3) What do you believe is significant or unique about the work and why do you think it belongs in our virtual museum of art history?

4) What did you learn about this particular period and style that you didn’t know before researching this object? What questions do you still have about it?

•The written portion of your stylistic and contextual analysis should be a minimum of 750 words of original writing (your own). Definitions and your question should be in addition to this word minimum.

Putting Together Your Presentation

•Synthesize all of the above information and develop a presentation using Word, Powerpoint, Prezi or any other suitable presentation software (please clear it with me first). For Powerpoint presentations, the text should be included in a text box next to the image. Please don’t put the written portion in the “Notes” section. You can also provide an audio version of your presentation using Google’s Art Project or use screen capture software like Jing (a free resource) or Camtasia (not free, but free trial available) if you feel more comfortable talking about your selection. However, you will also need to provide an audio transcript if you select this option.

•Your presentation must include an image of your selected artwork and images or page numbers of artworks with which you compared it (as well as relevant contextual information—a map or Google street view, for example). If you are having trouble pasting an image into your document, you can provide a valid hyperlink.

•Please give the presentation a title and include a title page

•You should also identify and define at least three important vocabulary terms that are essential toward an understanding of your selections. These definitions should be in your own words, about 2-sentences long, and NOT taken from the textbook. Include these on a separate page toward the end of the presentation.

•At the end on the last page, include 1 question for your classmates. Your peers will have the opportunity to respond to these questions in the discussion forum after all projects have been posted. Make sure these questions are thought-provoking and are intended to promote more conversation and investigation.

•Properly cite all 3 required resources at the end of your presentation on a Works Cited page. If you’re not sure how to cite your sources, see this link and “How do I cite?” for more This link will take you to the APA Style Guide, which you should follow for the citation of all electronic references.

•Submit your project to the Final Project drop box AND to the Final Project discussion forum by the due date.

Important note on academic integrity and plagiarism – The content of your paper must be original and in your own words. You may not copy and paste text from another source and claim it as your own. Use quotes sparingly and credit the author when necessary. Plagiarized papers will warrant an F on the assignment and will likely lead to a failed grade in the class, so don’t do it! Please see the above link for another tutorial on what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. Additionally, your writing will be automatically evaluated by D2L for originality upon submission, so any incidences of plagiarism will be immediately detected.