Fine Art: Learn, Look, and Buy
The list of topics in fine art is as long as the line to see the Mona Lisa. And while at the Louvre you have no choice but to wait, on the Web, you can explore at your own pace, whether you're a beginner or an expert. If you want to learn about art and its history, explore online museums, research galleries, read art magazines, or buy and sell artwork, the Internet has all the resources you need.
From just a glance, you know whether you think a painting is pretty, but you’re probably aware that there’s more to a work’s significance. Learning the history, context, and symbolism behind a piece or an entire oeuvre can enhance your experience and provide direction and perspective for your future pursuits, whether in art appreciation or education. Online you can learn where Picasso went to art school or find the resources to help you devise an art curriculum for fifth graders.
- If you’re using any of the material you find on a site for a research project, make sure you understand how to properly cite a source. The findingDulcinea Plagiarism Web Guide can help alleviate any confusion.
- Most museum Web sites have an education section with learning tools and information about artwork and artists. For example, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art features a "Timeline of Art History" that includes maps, pictures, thematic essays, and links to related museum exhibits.
For educational sites …
The Smithsonian Institute
’s Art and Design page allows you to survey works from all the museums that comprise the Institute’s Washington, DC complex. In addition to learning about artists and exhibitions, you can utilize education resources such as “Ask Joan of Art” or get the insider’s perspective in “Eye Level,” the Smithsonian Institute blog.
The BBC Arts Page
provides articles, online galleries, information, and activity features that are valuable whether you're a novice or an art maven. It provides a solid sampling of what's going on in the art world, activities for kids and teenagers, articles, reviews, and videos if you're interested in deepening your knowledge.
The Art Institute of Chicago
's Art Access feature allows you learn about pieces in the museums in terms of content, style, and historical content. It also offers lesson plans and learning material for school children.
For art databases …
is a database of art available on the Internet. You can conduct searches for works of art, artists, and museums. Beyond just images, the site also provides educational information. Links to free Encyclopedia Britannica articles are available for many artists, and on the left sidebar you can access a glossary and a feature called “Today in Art History.”
Grove Art Online
is an award-winning art history resource database. The site contains over 45,000 scholarly articles, 3,000 images, and links to relevant sources. Unfortunately, individual subscriptions are $29.95 a month. However, your university, library, or employer may have a subscription, and if not, it’s eligible for a free trial.
is a resource for information about more than 50,000 American artists. Beyond just providing information about artists, it has resources for learning about the art market and artistic movements.
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