Art & Design History Resources on the Worldwide Web

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 the sites 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, as well as under "General Information," below. These links are divided into the following categories:

General Information

Courses, Educational, and Text-heavy Sites




Image Sources

General Information

The Mildred M. Kelley Library and Learning Resources Center

In addition to what's on the shelves, the Kelley Library provides a number of useful databases, as well as assistance in their use. A list of passwords that allow off-campus access to WilsonWeb, Oxford Reference Online, BigChalk, Grove Art, and the Multimedia Photo Archive is available from the main desk. The growing number of VHS and DVD titles on topics relevant to this class can augment print and database information.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Timeline of Art History

This terrific page provides a visual sense of what happened when, and includes articles and objects from the Museum's vast collection that illustrate the scope of each art movement since the paleolithic.

Art of the Western World

This is the online version of the film series available in the Kelley Library. In order to access the streaming video you simply need to register (for free) as a student (and have a fast computer connection). Each segment of the series is about 60 minutes long, but for those of you who learn better visually than by reading, they could be very helpful. The Kelley Library video collection also includes many other films on artists and movements. Check the catalogue or browse through the bins to locate current holdings. 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, and limits their immediate availability.


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 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. Chris Witcombe keeps the list up to date, so this is also one of the most reliable links pages on the web.

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.

History of Art: From Paleolithic to Contemporary

This good general history site provides sections on Romanticism, the Pre-Raphaelites, Realism, Impressionism, Post-impressionism, Symbolism, and Modernism under "Styles" as well as a whole separate section on the twentieth century by movement and style. See also the sections on individual artists, and especially "Explorations," which considers some important topics in detail. Other sections of the site are equally interesting, and there's a useful dictionary as well. It's recently undergone a major overhaul, so some parts may not yet be complete.

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.


How Art Made the World

This new PBS television series (June 2006) is (according to the website) "a lively and provocative investigation into the far-reaching influence of art on society." The first episode was generally good, so I recommend watching it if you can; it's in the Kelley Library. Although it seems on the surface to concentrate on the origins of art, Nigel Spivey (the host) makes connections throughout history and does a great job of making it clear what the old stuff has to do with the new.

Courses, Educational, and Text-heavy Sources
These sites offer more comprehensive information and images, 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.


Metropolitan Museum of Art: Timeline of Art History

The Met's comprehensive timeline, mentioned above, allows visitors to choose periods and places, and includes both outlines and specific information about each era. This may well be the single most valuable art history tool available on the web today.

Timeline for Graphic Design History

From Michael Kroeger's website, right after a chart on Basic vs Applied Research in Graphic Design.

Timeline of Major Critical Theories in the US

Art history "happens" within a larger cultural context; this chart (also available as a downloadable .pdf file) provides a handy overview of the critical movements that have affected the interpretation of art and art history.

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.


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 Timeline of Art History may well be the most useful tool in existence for art and design history students. For fashion designers, don't miss The Costume Institute pages. The Explore and Learn section features educational materials for all ages, and the Online Resources page makes my links look puny by comparison (although I think I vet my links better than they do). There are separate lists of links related to different departments of the museum.

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.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York

New York has some of the best museums in the world, and this one houses one of the best collections of modern art anywhere. Period.

The Dallas Museum of Art

As an art student, it's extremely important for you to be familiar with art movements past and present--in the flesh. I encourage you to visit the DMA at least once during the quarter, but you really should 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 their website, so if you're looking for a worthy charity, why not join? (Free admission to special exhibits and a discount at the bookstore . . . )

The Nasher Sculpture Center

The addition of the Nasher (located next to the DMA in the "Arts District" of downtown Dallas) has greatly enhanced the ability to experience modern and contemporary art in our fair city. Several of the artists we will discuss in this class are represented in the permanent collection.

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," cultural critic/architect Witold Rybczynski discusses the design of the Kimbell and how it relates to the role of the museum in contemporary culture. If you're interested in reading it, I've got a copy, or you can check out his book, Looking Around: A Journey Through Architecture, from the Library.

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

The Modern houses the area's premier collection of modern art. If you live in the western half of the Metroplex, try to get to the Modern at least once during the quarter.

M.C. Carlos Museum

The website for 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).

See my Wunderkammern page for more information on locating other museums.

Image Sources

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. The host server changes periodically, so if the link doesn't work, just Google "cgfa."

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.

Mark Harden's Artchive

The name's a bit dopey, but the site is absolutely wonderful. 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. You do have to put up with annoying ads, but the guy has to support the site somehow.

The Web Museum

This site contains many features, not the least of which is a Famous Painting Exhibit indexed 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).

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.