Smarthistory – Multi Media Web Book about Art and History

In the 80s and early 90s we had a show on German television with the title “1000 Meisterwerke” – 1000 masterpieces. Every episode was about 10 minutes long and about a certain masterpiece in one of the big museums across the globe, may it be a painting or sculpture.

Back then the so called “Bildungsauftrag” – the educational mandate – that the state owned TV stations still have today was clearly noticeable. With the rise of ad financed private TV we unfortunately lost a lot of those formats.

But there is hope! Two art historians launched an amazing website which is basically a multi media (pictures, videos and podcasts) textbook for art and history on the Internet. And it’s free for everyone!

Up to today the team reviewed and discussed over 300 pieces of art from different epochs mainly from museums in New York City where the two founders Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker started in 2005.

Besides their own review you will find links to even more information about the masterpieces on each site along with lots of close up photos and related information.

Now Smarthistory, which won the Webby Awards for best education site in 2009, wants to produce 100 more videos. To finance that endeavor the team turned to the crowd funding site Kickstarter to raise $10.000. With 11 days left 228 backers donated $9.932 already so I think it is safe to predict that Smarthistory will reach their goal and therefore provide learners and people who are generally interested in art and history with 100 more masterpieces.

If you would like to participate in the funding, you need an Amazon Payments account which are currently only available in the US, if I am not mistaken. The link to the Kickstarter site is below.

Related Links:

  1. Smarthistory on Kickstarter
  2. Smarthistory — Art. History. Conversation.
  • guest

    Thanks for sharing this great web site. I am interested in art and history but there is limitation to find it by myself. This site can give me opportunity to learn about masterpieces. Thanks!

    • KirstenWinkler

      I am glad you found the article useful. It's a truly amazing project.

  • Magister Neveu

    What a terrific resource. I love to incorporate my own interest in Art History into my Latin classroom to show students the extent of antiquity's influence on the modern world. I am a true believer in the power of image literacy and its worthiness of being taught (even mastered) at the high school level. A resource like this could be a huge boon to teachers of a similar philosophy.

    • KirstenWinkler

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience. Mixing Latin lessons with art history is an awesome idea.