Art on All My Screens
December 5, 2012 8:06 PM   Subscribe

What's the best app or website for learning about and seeing lots of museum art?

It seems like every six months or so, I learn about a new website that seems to be all about showing off art, but falls short somehow. I signed up for the beta of, but closed my account after it became super-apparent that they're just hosting pictures of works available for sale. I want a website or an app that's the equivalent of a giant art history textbook - lots and lots of works, representative of periods and otherwise, that I can browse through and train my aesthetic eye. Ideally, it'd be the sort of place where I could see (download, even?) versions of works by major and minor artists across museums. I'm not against paying, either one time or subscription, for something like this.

Does anything like this exist? Art nerds, what sorts of tools do you use?
posted by Apropos of Something to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

The modern art notes podcast

posted by srboisvert at 8:15 PM on December 5, 2012

Best answer: Check out Google Art Project!
posted by colorproof at 8:20 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

A friend is involved with ArtSnap, which hasn't updated in a while but which has a good history of things to start with.

ArtDaily does have posts on auctions, but it also has news on archaeological, paleontological, and museum exhibitions as well as news on the bigger modern art shows and so forth. A nice daily read. is quite great because it does search the collections of many museums at once, and their participant list is growing.

If you're willing to browse through one museum at a time, check out the British Museum, the Louvre, the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, the Walters, or the Pitt Rivers!
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:28 PM on December 5, 2012

Also possibly of interest: the Met's Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, which is lavishly illustrated from their own collection and has great introductory essays to themes and time periods.
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:45 PM on December 5, 2012

Best answer: Artstor is "a nonprofit resource that provides more than one million digital images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and sciences with an accessible suite of software tools for teaching and research."

It's far from perfect or complete, but I do find it contains more images than any other database and in far higher quality.
posted by dd42 at 10:24 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I received a free membership to MutualArt and have learned quite a lot from the site. It is global in its approach to modern art, which I appreciate.
posted by tidecat at 1:23 AM on December 6, 2012

Best answer: I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet, but Wikipaintings is phenomenal.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:48 PM on December 7, 2012

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