Almost uncountable sites that offer information on the history of art and design--as well as images--exist on the web. The following list is not by any means exhaustive, but I have selected them because of the quality of information and/or images they provide. Please let me know if any of the links don't work. Do please remember that your first source of information should always be the Mildred Kelley Library--which is accessible through an icon on every computer in the school.

These links are divided into the following categories:

General Information



Courses, Educational, and Text-heavy Sites

Museums and Museum-based Resources

Image Sources


The Mildred M. Kelley Library and Learning Resources Center

The Kelley Library provides a number of useful databases, as well as assistance in their use and most of these are available through the library link on the student portal. Even though the library is being physically downsized, many new resources are becoming available online; the new Voyager search engine will help you locate materials.

The Library's video collection also includes many films on artists, periods, and movements. Check the catalogue, using the movement or artist you're interested in as the keyword. As a courtesy to your fellow students, please try to view videos and DVDs in the Library; taking them home to watch increases the chances of their being lost.


This is a new multi-media web page designed by art historians for instructors, students, and scholars. It's relatively easy to use, and divided by period. Using it can enlarge your study of art history because the material is solid and presented through text, video, and sound. There's also a blog.

Art of the Western World

The online version of the VHS film series available in the Kelley Library. In order to access the streaming video you simply need to register as a student (and have a fast computer connection). Each segment of the series is about 30 minutes long, and each videotape includes two related parts. For those of you who learn better visually than by reading, these could be very helpful.

Art Through Time: A Global View

Another Annenberg Foundation video series, Art Through Time is arranged topically, and features images and artifacts from all over the world and from different periods throughout history. Each segment is only 30 minutes long, divided into short examples. The episode on Writing includes some information on illuminated manuscripts.

Art History Resources on the Web

This may well be the mother of all art history sites (even though there is a site called "The Mother of Art History Links" or some such) because of the sheer number of links. Witcombe is not only responsible for the links page, but he's written several highly useful articles--and his advice is impeccable.

Mother of All Art History Links Pages

I don't use this as frequently as I use Chris Witcombe's site, but it's from the University of Michigan and entirely reliable. It's actually focused more on resources for instructors and grad students, it seems, than the average two-course art history student; but it adds some material to that included elsewhere on my lists.

World Wide Web Virtual Library: History of Art

The concept of the design school first arose in Great Britain, so it should not be surprising that many fine sites are available from across the pond. This particular site, from Birkbeck College of the University of London, says this about itself: "The History of Art Virtual Library is a collection of links relating to Art History and computer applications in Art History. The site is sponsored by CHArt, the Computers and History of Art Group. This site is aimed at everybody interested in art, but it has a special focus on the academic study of Art History."

Art Online

This site not only features images, timelines, and information, but also has some cool puzzles for when you start to think that art history isn't really fun. The magazine is in Italian, and it requires registration, but the contents are worth it.

Art Historians' Guide to the Movies

This site is almost too much fun. It includes a list of movies that deal in one way or another with art history, complete with comments.

Voice of the Shuttle

An exhaustive list of links is included here; go to the home page for more links on other topics related to art and art history.

The Perseus Digital Library

The hub of information on Classical art, architecture, and literature. This site frequently takes some time to load because it's used by so many students.

How Art Made the World

This newish PBS television series (June 2006) is (according to the website) "a lively and provocative investigation into the far-reaching influence of art on society." I highly recommend it, despite Nigel Spivey's rather breathless presentation. It poses some good questions and offers solid evidence for the conclusions arrived at in the series. It's in the Kelley Library. Although it seems on the surface to concentrate on the origins of art, Spivey makes connections throughout history and does a great job of making it clear what the old stuff has to do with the new. We have the complete videos in the Kelley Library.


A number of superb websites are emerging that deal much more extensively with several important topics than we have time for in class, so I've added this section in order to include them.

Arrow in the Eye: Psychology of Perspective and Renaissance Art (Web Exhibits), an online book by Michael Kubovy and Christopher Tyler. The 15th century saw the invention of a radically new technology that changed the Western understanding of aesthetics forever: linear perspective. This comprehensive exhibit covers the history of perspective in more detail than either I nor the textbook could even approach.


Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

The Met's comprehensive timeline allows visitors to choose periods and places, and includes both outlines and specific information about each era. Several good essays offer support to material discussed in this class.

Timelines of Art History BC/BCE and Timelines of Art History AD/CE

These helpful overviews of world art break periods down into smaller units when you click on the "moment" you're interested in.

COURSES, EDUCATIONAL, & TEXT-HEAVY SITES These sites offer more comprehensive information timages, although they may provide links to good image sites.

Art, Design, and Visual Thinking

This is Professor Charlotte Jirousek's site from College of Human Ecology at Cornell University. See her interactive textbook for excellent outline of the history of design, with solid information and good images. The site may look a bit out of date, but it's been up for even longer than Owldroppings has, and it offers valuable information on topics that don't change content frequently.

Art History: A Preliminary Handbook

If you know nothing at all about studying art history, start here. This site offers comprehensive, seriously helpful information--including tips on how to write about art history.

Graphic Design Lectures from Parkland College

A series of Flash slides that outline the history of graphic design. Although I disagree with some of the content (the assumption in the first lecture, for example, that cave paintings were not created for artistic purposes--since we can't know this) the author pretty much follows Meggs, and the presentation is clean and nicely designed.

North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts

This site is designed primarily for area teachers in elementary and secondary schools, but many of the articles featured in the newsletters, as well as some of the links, are relevant to college-level students.

Textiles as Art

I just located this site (October 09), and it provides some nice images and discussion of the craft/art conjunction. The focus tends to be on the East (as in East Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East), but since this is where many textile developments originated, it makes a great deal of sense. The "Textile History" page is especially useful.


The Dallas Museum of Art

You are not required to attend the optional DMA field trip, but I encourage you to look at their website and to take the DartRail train down to visit as often as you have free time. The more exposure you have to works of art, the better you will be able to understand the concepts we explore in class. Don't forget that membership dollars go toward "bells and whistles" like this website, so if you're looking for a worthy charity, why not join? (Free admission to special exhibits and a discount at the bookstore . . . ) Unfortunatley, the collection search engine is difficult, if not impossible to use, so (for the time being, anyway) use the home page as an information center for when you want to visit. The Crow Collection of Asian Art is right across the street, and is free--so plan to visit it as well.

The Kimbell Art Museum

Fort Worth enjoys a wealth of museums, but this is the area's crown jewel. They have a particularly well-designed web page, and the museum itself is well worth a trip to Cow Town. In his essay, "Art Inside the Walls," (which you will read for your museum critique assignment), cultural critic/architect Witold Rybczynski discusses the design of the Kimbell and how it relates to the role of the museum in contemporary culture.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This nation's premier art museum, the Met (in New York City) provides some of the best instructional materials available on the Web. The Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History may well be the most useful tool in existence for art and design history students. A new feature, Met Publications, makes the museum's exhibit catalogues available either in preview form (for those still in print) or in downloadable .pdf for out-of-print works. You might also want to browse through the Galleries section to see what the museum has to offer. For fashion designers, don't miss The Costume Institute pages. The Collections page provides highlights and a search engine. MetMedia provides videos and podcasts on a wide variety of subjects.

The National Gallery of Art

This is one of the national treasures of the United States. I will frequently link relevant exhibitions to appropriate points on the Schedule, but it's also instructive simply to browse through the Collection. Of particular interest to my students is the Index of American Design, which features items from the permanent collection in fashion, textiles, pottery, and folk art. Consult the exhibitions page to explore timely topics, as well as current and past exhibits that can shed light on projects for this class.

M.C. Carlos Museum

This museum at Emory University features a variety of works from many cultures, with explanatory notes on the pieces (both from the Carlos permanent collection and those on loan).

The British Museum Online

The premier museum in the world (I'm not the only one who thinks so), offers excellent online resources for students. It includes items of special interest from the museum's vast collections, as well as tours and other special features for students of all ages.

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Penn is where I got most of my training, especially in archaeology. I spent many long hours using the collections of this museum to further my understanding of art and design history, never dreaming that one day I'd be able to make virtual visits despite having left Philadelphia.

See the Wunderkammern page for more on locating other museums.


CGFA: A Virtual Art Museum

Carol Gerten-Jackson has compiled an almost unbelievable number of excellent image scans from all areas of art history. Whenever you find it necessary to conduct research on a particular artist, start here. Note: CGFA changes servers frequently and usually includes several mirror sites. If you can't access it at this link, type "CGFA" into a search window and you can locate the lates index.

Web Gallery of Art

Another extensive site, the Web Gallery also offers multiple examples of artworks created by artists who worked between 1150 and 1800, along with biographies and details of individual images.

Mark Harden's Artchive

The name's a bit dopey, but the site is useful. It's a shame that Harden has to depend on ads, but once you get through them, the information is valuable. Click on the "Artchive" icon for a list of artists and movements, but don't ignore the other pages. Take special note of the "Theory and Criticism" page for analysis and commentary on artists and exhibits, and the "Galleries" section, which features special exhibits such as "1925: The Year in Review" and "The First Impressionist Exhibition." The Image Viewer feature allows you to view most images in great detail.

The Web Museum

This site contains many features, not the least of which is a Famous Painting Exhibitindexed both by theme (era or movement) and by artist. But check out the special exhibits, which include one on Cézanne and one on the Très riches heures of the Duc de Berry. Consult the glossary of painting styles when you run across a term you don't understand (and then go look it up in the Dictionary of Art in the Kelley Library).

Art Images for College Teaching

This isn't as easy to use as it once was, but the author has collected a large number of images (both his own and from contributers) on a wide range of art historical topics. The images are licenced for non-commercial use.

New York Public Library Digital Gallery

Brand new on the web (as of March 2005), this resource looks promising for a number of specific topics. Please let me know how you use it, and what you think.


Along with Wikimedia Commons, WikiPaintings is becoming one of my favorite sites for images. This is a visual version of the encyclopedia, with many useful features.

last update: 12.23.12