Art History: The Key to Crafting a Compelling Online Art Presence”

Illustration, learning online, people in a library with technology

Are you thinking about building an online art business but wondering how you can stand out in the crowded digital space? Well, let us tell you a secret: understanding art history can give you a leg up in the game!

Art history is the study of art across time and cultures, and it encompasses everything from ancient cave paintings to contemporary installations. By learning about the evolution of art styles and movements, you can gain a deeper appreciation of art and use that knowledge to inform and inspire your own artwork.

Artist studio, paintings all around

But why is art history so important in the context of building an online art business? For one, understanding the historical context of art can help you position your work in a way that resonates with buyers. By showcasing your work alongside artists and movements that share similar themes or techniques, you can create a more cohesive and compelling online presence.

Additionally, knowing about famous artists and their influence can help you build your own brand and establish yourself as an authority in your niche. By incorporating elements of their style or techniques into your own work, you can create a unique and recognizable aesthetic that sets you apart from the competition.

So, how can you start learning about art history and using it to your advantage? Here are a few tips:

Read books and articles about art history: There are countless resources available that cover everything from the ancient Greeks to contemporary art. Look for books and articles that cover topics that interest you and start reading!

Visit museums and galleries: Nothing beats experiencing art in person. Visiting museums and galleries can give you a firsthand look at different art styles and movements, and help you develop a more nuanced understanding of art history.

Take classes or workshops: If you’re looking for a more structured approach, consider taking a class or workshop on art history. Many community colleges and universities offer courses, and there are also plenty of online options available.

Use art history to inform your own work: Once you have a solid understanding of art history, start incorporating that knowledge into your own artwork. Whether you’re inspired by the colors of the Impressionists or the surrealism of Dali, using elements of art history can help you create more meaningful and impactful work.

Understanding art history is a crucial component of building a successful online art business. By using your knowledge to position your work, establish your brand, and create more impactful art, you can stand out in the crowded digital space and achieve the success you deserve.

colourful illustration of an artist at a computer

Online resources for learning about Art History:

Khan Academy Art History: Khan Academy has a comprehensive Art History section that covers various periods and movements in art. The courses are taught by experts and include interactive quizzes and videos. It’s free to use and accessible to anyone with an internet connection.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: The Met’s website has an extensive timeline of art history that spans from ancient to contemporary times. Each section includes detailed information and images of key works of art. It’s an excellent resource for anyone looking to gain a better understanding of art history.

Coursera – Art History Courses: Coursera offers a variety of online courses in Art History that are taught by top professors from around the world. Courses are available for free, although you can also pay for a certificate upon completion of the course.

The Getty – Art History Resources: The Getty Museum has a vast collection of online resources for Art History, including articles, videos, and interactive exhibits. The website is user-friendly and offers an easy way to explore different periods and styles of art.

Smarthistory: Smarthistory is a free, online resource for Art History that offers multimedia content, including videos, images, and articles. It’s a collaborative platform that features content from museums and scholars from around the world.

Recommended books and podcasts for learning about Art History:

There are also many books and podcasts available that can help you deepen your understanding of the subject. These books have been around for awhile so check your local library:

“Art History” by Marilyn Stokstad and Michael W. Cothren

“A World History of Art” by Hugh Honour and John Fleming

“Gardner’s Art Through the Ages” by Fred S. Kleiner

“Ways of Seeing” by John Berger (Based on BBC TV series – available on Kindle)

“Art in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas” by Charles Harrison and Paul Wood


The Art History Babes: A podcast hosted by four art history graduates who explore various topics in art history, from Ancient Egypt to contemporary art.

The Lonely Palette: Each episode of this podcast explores a single work of art, providing insights and context that help listeners appreciate it more fully.

ArtCurious: This podcast explores the unexpected, the slightly odd, and the strangely wonderful in art history.

The National Gallery of Art|Talks: Discover how art history helps us better comprehend the world around us, from the messages conveyed through artworks to the larger cultural and historical movements they reflect. Follow along with curators, historians, artists, musicians, and filmmakers as they delve into the stories and significance of art, uncovering what it reveals about our shared human experience.

Great Women Artists: Hosted by art historian and curator Katy Hessel, The Great Women Artists podcast features interviews with female artists about their careers, as well as with curators, writers, and other art enthusiasts who discuss the female artist that has had the greatest impact on their lives.

YouTube channels for learning about Art History:

There’s never been a better time to deepen your knowledge and appreciation of art history.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Met has an official YouTube channel that features a variety of videos related to art and art history. Their “82nd & Fifth” series features curators discussing works of art from the museum’s collection.

The Art Assignment: This PBS Digital Studios series explores different art forms and art history topics through short, engaging videos. Hosted by curator Sarah Urist Green, each episode offers a unique perspective on art and creativity.

Smarthistory: In addition to their website, Smarthistory has a YouTube channel that features videos on various topics in art history, from Ancient Greece to contemporary art.

The National Gallery: The National Gallery in London has a YouTube channel that offers behind-the-scenes tours of the museum’s collection, interviews with artists and curators, and other art-related content.

TED-Ed: TED-Ed offers a variety of educational videos on a range of subjects, including art history. Their “Art History” playlist features videos on topics such as the history of the color blue in art and the impact of Islamic art on the world.

These are just a few of the many YouTube channels and resources available for learning about Art History. Whether you prefer short, engaging videos or longer, in-depth discussions, there’s something out there for everyone.