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Free Online Art History Learning Sources and Courses

Making Sense of Art History is a great basic art history course to take. It serves the purpose of exposing potential students of art history to the field. During that course, students look at paintings, sculptures, mixed media and photographs and try to understand the meaning behind these art objects. Students also try to identify what these objects of art say about artists, their fate and their lives.

  • Art in Renaissance Venice is a perfect course for those who want to understand the art of Venice during the time of Italian Renaissance. It centers around how trade industry and ethnic diversity of Renaissance shaped it.
  • Helen Langdon’s ‘Caravaggio’ focuses on the work of Caravaggio through the prism of his life. Materials are broken down into the units that cover valuable information about Caravaggio’s life in order to make students understand his art better.
  • Delacroix is dedicated to Eugéne Delacroix and discusses his creative legacy in connection to the age of Enlightenment and the Romantic Movement. Via analyzes of Eugene’s life, students are able to piece together personal and cultural influence on his work, like, for instance, Oriental themes which appear in his works from time to time.
  • Musée du Louvre is for those who are interested in the collection of museum and how it was assembled. Another goal that this course pursuits is an attempt to emphasize the importance of art history studies. Materials for this course are comprised of video clips accompanied by discussion questions.
  • Art Since 1940 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology covers art from Europe, Africa, Asia, the United States, the Middle East and Latin America. This course offers students to study different forms of art as both aesthetic and political tool. Lectures are available in the PDF format and can cover Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, the San Francisco school, performance art, Frank Stella, the Beat movement, and minimalism.
  • Cycles: African Life through Art by Indianapolis Museum of Art offers to view four different galleries based on life cycles. Through the combination of music, text, and images, students can understand how artwork portrays ancestral relationships, leadership, as well as youth and adulthood.
  • History of Art Study Guide: 14th Century to the Present by Rice University has outlines for a number of artistic periods, media and styles. Students can also use this resource to test their knowledge of important sculptures, paintings and architecture.
  • Roman Architecture by Yale University gives students a glimpse of the architectural, engineering and urban planning accomplishments of the Roman Empire. This is an essential course for those who need to understand the significance of Roman civilization’s aesthetics. It shows how Roman architecture spread to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Course comprises 23 video and audio lectures which were all recorded in 2009 on the Yale University campus.
  • Web Gallery of Art is basically a virtual museum of artwork and can be used to search for creative work of specific artists. Tours offered here are very detailed and useful.