Having Fun with Art History at Khan Academy (Not just for kids!)

I was reading Wired Magazine the other day (the July issue to give you an idea how behind I am on everything) and I came across an article entitled, “How Khan Academy is Changing the Rules of Education.” Well since my background is in education and I have lots of kids in my life who are in school, I read it from beginning to end. It’s interesting, worth the read. Go ahead, I’ll pause while you read it…

When I finished the article I went to my computer and surfed over to the Khan Academy website to check it out for my niece, Marisol, who helps me keep my brain nimble by helping her with homework. Algebra, check, science, check. I’ll have to share this website with Mari, I thought.

Then I scrolled down a little further and I was surprised and tickled to find a section on Art History. Art History! One of my favorite subjects. Now I know from chatting with a lot of my artist friends that art history is not always a favorite topic, but I have to tell you, after checking out the Art History section of Khan Academy, you’ll might just change your mind. The videos are short, informative, conversational in nature, and will teach you a lot in a little bit of time.

At first I wandered through some of my favorites that I knew I would enjoy – and maybe learn a bit more about: Van Eyck’s portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife, Gaugin’s The Red Cow, and Millet’s the Gleaners.

And then, to challenge myself I tried an artwork that I don’t like very much but am open to the idea that my lack of education may affect my ability to understand it: de Kooning’s Woman I (Nope, no change, I still don’t like it, although I did learn a lot.)

It was tempting to spend hours going from one artwork to another but I think I’ll just add this website to my daily routine. One work a day.

While you’re there, check out the brain teasers, math, science and other topics. After sampling a few of the math videos I thought perhaps I’d like math a lot more if I’d learned it this way. There are even sections on Banking and Money, the Credit Crisis, Currency and Current Economics. Probably something we should all understand better. After I work through the Art History Section I’m going to check out the Astronomy.

Do you have websites that you use for your art education? Please post web links in the comments and tell us why you like that site.



2 responses to “Having Fun with Art History at Khan Academy (Not just for kids!)

  1. A simply wonderful website with hundreds of artworks and lots of information that is easy to use lets you search by time period, region of the world or individual artist, or subject matter for a more in-depth look is the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Timeline of Art History. It is on the museum’s main website.

  2. Hey! Thanks, Ginger. I’ll definitely check it out.


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