There are a lot of art history websites online, but only a few that I keep going back to over and over again. If you need information on famous artists or art movements, here are my picks.
Yes, its graphics are very dated and the whole site is simple to the extreme, but the webmuseum is still one of my favorite sites to find information about historical artists.
There are over 200 famous artists listed there, all with at least a short bio and usually several large images of their artwork.
That link, by the way, will take you straight to the main index of artists, not the home page. From the index it’s very easy to navigate to whichever artist you’re interested in.
Mark Harden’s Artchive is probably my second favorite artist and art history resource on the internet.
With around 300 entries covering both artists and art movements there’s a lot of good information there too, although again, the site and graphics are pretty old.
The Artchive takes a slightly different route than the webmuseum, however. If you click on any artist’s name you’ll probably find one or two excerpts from a book about the artist, or an essay by an art historian. There are also plenty of pictures.
Be prepared for a lot of advertisements (including pop-ups). The ads are annoying, but they do keep the artchive up and running so I guess it’s worth it.
I just found the-artists.org a few weeks ago, so I haven’t used it as much as the previous two but I’m sure I will. It has a big selection of modern art information, starting in the mid-1800s with Impressionism and going all the way to present day.
You can search by art movement or artist, read recent art news (basically press releases) and find reviews of art books as well.
The-artists.org also allows artists to publish their own press releases on the site, and basically self-promote their own artwork for free, within some limitations.
Check that out here if you’re interested.
And my last resource (which covers more than just art):
Wikipedia. Especially when it comes to names, dates, and places, Wikipedia has always worked well for me.
I think it’s a good place to begin if you’re looking for an overview of a specific artist or movement, but it’s also smart to double-check Wikipedia with other sources.
That’s because as an open encyclopedia, anyone can edit it with their own information or opinion, and they might be wrong.
Of course, when it comes right down to it, verifying everything you find online is a good idea.
Have an art site you like? Let me know, I’d love to check it out.