Learn Art History


To truly know your art, you need to know its roots. Explore our resources to learn about various art styles as well as art from specific cultures and regions. Regions covered include Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Mediterranean, and Oceania, and specific cultures are covered as well, including Islamic art, Byzantine art, and Western art.

We have 34 resources for learning Art History including educational Online Classes, YouTube & Online Videos, Games, and Books, from providers such as Khan Academy, Gresham College, Annenberg Learner, and California Institute of the Arts.


Free

A beginner's guide to Asian art and culture


College | Online class

Hinduism is one of the world’s oldest religions. It has complex roots, and involves a vast array of practices and a host of deities. Its plethora of forms and beliefs reflects the tremendous...

Free

African art, an introduction


College | Online class

Find here a brief introduction to the peoples and cultures of Africa.

Free

American Cinema


7th - College | Online/YouTube video

With insights from over 150 Hollywood insiders, this series explores modern American cinema and features over 300 clips from American movies.  In-depth treatments present film as a powerful...

Free

AP Art History


High School | Online class

Smarthistory is working to include each of the 250 required works of art. The new test will assess a student’s understanding of the methods used by art historians and familiarity with the cultural...

Free

Art 1010


College | Online class

Art 1010 is a short series of fun (and funny) animations created for the Utah System of Higher Education that introduce the history of Western art.

Free

Art and Power


High School - College | Online/YouTube video

In four lectures Professor Simon Thurley considers the interaction of art, architecture and power in sixteenth and seventeenth-century Britain. He asks why monarchs and aristocrats collected what...

Free

Art history


7th - College | Online class

We understand the history of humanity through art. From prehistoric depictions of bison to contemporary abstraction, artists have addressed their time and place in history and expressed universal...

Free

Art history basics


7th - College | Online class

New to art? This is a good place to start. Art gives us access to the way people at different moments in history have understood the world. Jump in and explore!

Free

Art in 19th century Europe


College | Online class

Art in 19th century Europe Explore Table of contents Topics Introduction—Becoming Modern Romanticism Early photography Victorian art and architecture The avant-garde: Realism, Impressionism and...

Free

Art of Africa


High School - College | Online class

African art, an introduction 0 of 13 complete Find here a brief introduction to the peoples and cultures of Africa. Peoples and cultures Historical overview: to the 1500s Historical overview: from...

Free

Art of Mexico in the 19th century


9th - College | Online class

The landscapes of José María Velasco and the first art school in the Americas, the Real Academia de San Carlos

Free

Art of Oceania


College | Online class

The islands of the eastern Pacific are known as Polynesia, from the Greek for “many islands.” Set within a triangle formed by Aotearoa (New Zealand) in the south, Hawaii to the north and Rapa Nui...

Free

Art of Southeast Asia


4th - College | Online class

Discover the extraordinary art and architecture of this vast region which includes palaces, temples and mosques inspired by the Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic religions.

Free

Art of the Americas to World War I


College | Online class

North America before European colonization South America before European colonization Spanish colonies in the Americas Native American art after 1600 British Colonies to the Early Republic Art of...

Free

Art of the ancient Mediterranean


7th - College | Online class

Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians – no wonder we need an introduction!

Free

Art of the Islamic world


7th - College | Online class

Early Period (c. 640-900 C.E.) From the rightfully guided caliphs who succeeded Muhammad, through the Umayyads’ Dome of the Rock and Great Mosque of Damascus, to the decline of Abbasids rule.

Free

Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical art in Europe


College | Online class

Get a head start on the historical developments that shape Baroque art in the Catholic Italy, Spain, Flanders, France and in the Protestant north.

Free

British Colonies to the Early Republic


9th - College | Online class

All content in “British Colonies to the Early Republic”

Free

Byzantine (late Roman Empire)


7th - College | Online class

Constantinople (now Istanbul) was the capital of the late Roman empire, but its ethereal mosaics, ivories, and metalwork often depart from classical naturalism.

Free

Early Europe and Colonial Americas: 200-1750 C.E.


High School - College | Online class

Medieval artistic traditions include late antique, early Christian, Byzantine, Islamic, migratory, Carolingian*, Romanesque, and Gothic, named for their principal culture, religion, government,...

Free

Expressionism to Pop Art


Pre-K - College | Online class

Expressionism to Pop Art Explore Table of contents Topics A beginner’s guide to 20th century art Early abstraction: Fauvism, Expressionism, and Cubism World War I, Futurism and Dada Art between the...

Free

Greek art


High School - College | Online class

Rio 2016, London 2012, Beijing 2008, Olympia 776 B.C.E. find out how the ancient pan-Hellenic games inspired our modern Olympiad. Then learn to identify the classical orders and you will never look...

Free
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History of Graphic Design


7th - College | Online class

This condensed survey course focuses on four major areas of design and their history: Typography, Image-Making, Interactive Media, and Branding. In each class, we’ll start by observing the factors...

Free

Indigenous Americas


College | Online class

Art of the Indigenous Americas is among the world’s oldest artistic traditions. While its roots lie in northern Asia, it developed independently between c. 10,000 B.C.E. and 1492 C.E., which marked...

Free

Introduction to cultures and religions for the study of AP Art History


High School - College | Online class

Explore Hinduism through clips of significant sites in South Asia and interviews with members of the Bay Area South Asian community. Learn more about Hinduism on t…

Free

Late Gothic art in Italy


College | Online class

Italian art from the late 13th and 14th centuries was once known as primitive because it was seen largely as a transition from Medieval abstraction to the naturalism of the Renaissance (with a dose...

Free

Medieval period


High School - College | Online class

Medieval Period (c. 900-1517 C.E.) The Fatimids (909-1171) ruled north Africa, and parts of Syria and the Seljuqs contolled eastern Islamic lands and eventually Iran, Iraq and much of Anatolia.

Free

Native American art after 1600


7th - College | Online class

Native societies across North American developed diverse material cultures that reflect the character of their regions and respond to the universal issues of human and spiritual existence.

Free

Neolithic art


College | Online class

The Neolithic Revolution was the most important development in human history. The way we live today—settled in cities, protected by laws, eating food from farms—dates from approximately 10,000...

Free

Paleolithic art


College | Online class

Humans make art. We do this for many reasons and with whatever technologies are available to us. But can we really know what such ancient images originally meant?

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Frequently Asked Questions

What's the best way to learn Art History?

The best learning resource is the one that you will stick with. For some students, that means a resource that's fun and engaging like a mobile or PC game. For others it's a resource that lets them learn on their own time, like a mobile app or YouTube channel. For other students, it's a resource that emphasizes reinforcement, such as a workbook or set of printable worksheets. The best way to figure out what is right for you is to look at a wide range of resources, keeping your selection criteria in mind. Search our database of 34 resources for learning Art History.

What should I consider when choosing a learning resource for Art History?

Think about what is going to help you continue with the resource and actually complete it. Primary considerations should be:

  • Time commitment - how much time can you spend with this resource per day/week?
  • Portability - will you be studying at home or in other places, such as on the bus or after school?
  • Reinforcement learning - does the resource offer reinforcement? Think about whether you'll want exercises or printable worksheets to help you practice what you learned.
  • Price - does the resource require a monthly subscription? This may be fine for topics you can learn in a month or two, but it may be prohibitively expensive otherwise.
Search our database of 34 resources for learning Art History.

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