Or the fascinating stories behind some famous works of art.
The girls and I love looking at works of art: paintings, drawings, sculptures… and finding out more about the stories behind them. We have used many wonderful art history books and websites. I’d like to share one that Charlotte, in particular, loves. She has bookmarked The Kahn Academy website and often browses their art history videos, on the Smarthistory section of this site.
Each video is a conversation between Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker about a particular work of art. They are only short, maybe 3 -5 minutes in length, but are packed full of interesting information. While we look at the artwork on screen, the two commentators point out details, give a little bit of background history, speculate possible meanings, describe artistic techniques…
Here’s a review I found on the site:
Dr. E. Makriyannis wrote::
The first time I came across Smarthistory.org was at the Webby Awards. What I really liked about the site was that it immediately engaged me. I wanted to explore it. I have always admired art, especially Byzantine Art and Renaissance Era. In each video and audio in Smarthistory, Beth and Steven, seemed to take me by the hand, in their calm yet enthusiastic manner, allowing me to join their conversation, to learn from them and achieve a much deeper understanding and appreciation of the art object described. I believe that every learner should have teachers like Beth and Steven.
There are 419 videos
arranged by time, artist, style or theme.
In the side-bar are some additional links if you’d like to find out more about the painting or the artist.
There are so many of our favourite artists represented on this site: Leonardo da Vinci, Turner, Mary Cassatt, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Caravaggio…
While I was looking for information to write this post, I stumbled across a very interesting video of Sir John Everett Millais’ painting The Vale of Rest
. In the painting are two nuns in full habit. One particularly beautiful nun is sitting looking towards the viewer while the other nun, with her habit tucked up, digs a grave. I was intrigued and just had to watch the video immediately.