Look at cats, learn about art history

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has released a new Google Chrome extension that displays a random cat from the museum’s online art collection whenever a new tab or window is opened.

Met museum's Chrome extension is purr-fect

The Watchful Cat, by John Alonzo Williams (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Probably there was a time when cats weren't the internet's favourite thing, maybe back when the internet was just a lame prototype known as ARPANET. But seeing as how that was before time started, it's safe to say that cats have always been the internet's favourite thing, with a sloths making a short-lived popularity spike a couple years ago.

But back to cats: New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art has just put out a new Google Chrome extension called Meow Met that displays a random cat from the museum's online art collection whenever a new tab or window is opened. If the cat in question is for some reason not central to the art, Meow Met crops the image to fix the problem. In short, that means more cats, but it also means education, because the displayed cats are from pieces of art with real history behind them (featured artists include Goya, Manet, Thomas Gainsborough and the perpetually famous anonymous). Click the cat, learn about art. It's fun, even if it gets a little repetitive.

Here are some samples of the offerings:

Cat and Flowers. Illustration to The Cats by Champfleury, by Édouard Manet, 1869 (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Winter: Cat on a Cushion, by Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, 1909 (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

[Via Slate]