Art and Art History

Open Books

  • American Encounters: Art, History, and Cultural Identity
    American Encounters provides a narrative of the history of American art that focuses on historical encounters among diverse cultures, upon broad structural transformations such as the rise of the middle classes and the emergence of consumer and mass culture, and on the fluid conversations between ‘high’ art and vernacular expressions. The text emphasizes the intersections among cultures and populations, as well as the exchanges, borrowings, and appropriations that have enriched and vitalized our collective cultural heritage.”
  • Art in Revolution: Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture
    “This open access book is the culminating product of an open pedagogy assignment. […] In this class we explored the ways in which images can shape and challenge dominant ideas and how some of the legacies of nineteenth century imagery can have relevance for us today.” The book includes written and artistic responses by students to case studies related to this theme, and it is part of the Public Domain Core Collection, a collaboration between Ryerson and Brock universities.
  • The Bright Continent: African Art History
    “This book aims to act as your map through the world of African art. As such, it will help you define the competencies you need to develop–visual analysis, research, noting what information is critical, asking questions, and writing down your observations–and provide opportunities for you to practice these skills until you are proficient. It will also expose you to new art forms and the worlds that produced them, enriching your understanding and appreciation.”
  • Computer Graphics and Computer Animation: A Retrospective Overview
    “This book was developed in an attempt to maintain in one location the information and references that point to the many important historical developments of the short life of the computer graphics world as we know it.”
  • Introduction to Art
    This text is an introduction to visual culture. According to the introduction, it is “intended to make you more visually sensitive to the world around you and to begin to understand your own aesthetic tastes and to seek out things that give you visual pleasure.”
  • Introduction to Art: Design, Context, and Meaning
    This book “offers a comprehensive introduction to the world of Art. Authored by four University System of Georgia faculty members with advance degrees in the arts, this textbooks offers up-to-date original scholarship. It includes over 400 high-quality images illustrating the history of art, its technical applications, and its many uses.”

Open Courses

  • Art Appreciation (Lumen Learning and SUNY OER)
    This introductory course “thoroughly investigates how quality is determined and created by artists in order to evaluate and appreciate art on a deeper level.”
  • Art History (Khan Academy)
    This online art history course ranges from prehistoric to contemporary art.
  • Introduction to the History of Modern Art (Lehman College)
    This open course is maintained by Associate Professor Sharon Jordan on the CUNY Academic Commons.
  • Roman Architecture Art History Course (Open Yale)
    “This course is an introduction to the great buildings and engineering marvels of Rome and its empire, with an emphasis on urban planning and individual monuments and their decoration, including mural painting. While architectural developments in Rome, Pompeii, and Central Italy are highlighted, the course also provides a survey of sites and structures in what are now North Italy, Sicily, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, and North Africa. The lectures are illustrated with over 1,500 images, many from Professor Kleiner’s personal collection.”

Open and Zero-cost Resources

  • Art History Teaching Resources (AHTR)
    Created by Michelle Millar Fisher of the Graduate Center and Karen Shelby of Baruch College, AHTR “is a peer-populated platform for educators who use visual and material culture in their teaching practice. Home to an evolving and collectively authored repository of open educational content, AHTR serves as a collaborative virtual community for art history instructors at all stages of their academic and professional careers.”
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
    Check the box next to “Show public domain images only” before entering your keywords in the search bar. For more information on using this site, see the LACMA blog Unframed.
  • OER on Art History (OER Commons)
  • Open Access Artworks
 (The Met)
  • Open Access at the National Gallery of Art
    “The National Gallery of Art has an open access policy for images of works of art in our permanent collection which the Gallery believes to be in the public domain. Images of these works are available for download free of charge for any use, whether commercial or non-commercial.”
  • Open Arts Archive (The Open University)
    This archive provides “free access to a wealth of artistic, cultural and educational resources, including talks, seminars, study days, artists’ podcasts, artist interviews, curators’ talks and exhibitions.”
  • Smarthistory: The Center for Public Art History
    “Smarthistory takes you inside museums and outside to ancient temples and engages in conversations about how to interpret and understand the images you’re seeing. […] Smarthistory supports the ethical and open sharing of cultural knowledge. All of our resources are published under a Creative Commons non-commercial license and are available ad-free to anyone with an internet connection.”
  • Timeline of Art History (The Met)
    “Discover the story of art and global culture through The Met collection.”
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