Youtube is a great resource for both those studying art history and also for those just generally interested in the subject. These are the best art history Youtube channels that have a long history of great quality content and continue to produce videos.
Smart History is a highly respected and widely popular YouTube channel focused on art history and cultural studies. The channel was created in 2005 by two art history professors, Dr. Beth Harris, and Dr. Steven Zucker, and has since become a leading resource for students, educators, and enthusiasts of art history. The channel features a wide range of videos covering various topics in art history, including architecture, painting, sculpture, and photography.
The videos are highly informative and engaging, with a focus on making complex ideas accessible to a broad audience. One of the defining features of Smart History is its use of visual aids to enhance the learning experience. The videos often incorporate high-quality images of artworks, as well as diagrams and animations that help to illustrate key concepts. This visual approach not only makes the material more engaging but also helps viewers to better understand the nuances of each artwork and make Smart History one of the best art history youtube channels.
- URL: @smarthistoryvideos
- Since: April 2009
- Average Length: 5 minutes
- Topics covered: Paintings, sculpture, and architecture
The National Gallery is a prominent art museum located in London, England, and its YouTube channel is a popular platform for sharing its collection and exhibitions with a global audience. The channel was launched in 2009 and has since become a leading resource for art lovers and enthusiasts around the world. The National Gallery YouTube channel features a diverse range of content, including exhibition trailers, behind-the-scenes videos, interviews with artists and curators, and in-depth explorations of individual artworks. The channel also offers virtual tours of the gallery’s collections and exhibitions, allowing viewers to experience the museum’s treasures from the comfort of their own homes.
One of the unique features of the National Gallery’s YouTube channel is its focus on education and accessibility. The channel offers a variety of educational resources, including art history lectures, workshops, and activities designed to engage viewers of all ages and skill levels. The museum also hosts live events and webinars, which are broadcast on the channel and offer viewers the opportunity to engage with the museum’s staff and experts in real-time. The National Gallery’s YouTube channel is also known for its high-quality production values and attention to detail. The videos are beautifully shot and edited, with a focus on showcasing the artwork in its best possible light which makes this one of the best art history youtube channels, and certainly the most comprehensive youtube channel by an institution.
- URL: @nationalgallerylondon
- Since: 2008
- Average Length: Varies widely, from 2 minutes for a painting overview through to an hour for lectures
- Topics covered: Paintings, museum management, and restoration
The Art Assignment is a YouTube channel that explores the world of contemporary art and encourages viewers to engage with art in new and creative ways. The channel was created by curator Sarah Green and author John Green and features a range of videos focused on various aspects of contemporary art and its relevance to everyday life. The Art Assignment offers a fresh and accessible approach to contemporary art, with a focus on engaging viewers through interactive projects and activities. The videos cover a wide range of topics, from exploring the history of different art movements to examining the creative process of individual artists. The channel also features interviews with artists, curators, and other experts in the field of contemporary art.
- URL: @theartassignment
- Since: 2013
- Average Length: 10 minutes
- Topics covered: Very general, Paintings, artists, art history, art travel, museums, art movements
Great Art Explained
The Great Art Explained podcast is a popular podcast that delves into the world of art history, providing listeners with a detailed and engaging exploration of some of the world’s greatest artworks. The podcast is hosted by Dr. Kate Bryan, an art historian, curator, and writer, who guides listeners through the stories, contexts, and meanings behind some of the most famous and significant artworks in history. Each episode of the Great Art Explained podcast focuses on a single artwork, which Dr. Bryan analyzes in detail, exploring its history, technique, and cultural significance. The artworks featured on the podcast come from a range of periods and styles, from the Renaissance to contemporary art, and include paintings, sculptures, and other forms of art.
One of the key features of the Great Art Explained podcast is its accessible and engaging approach to art history. Dr. Bryan presents the information in a way that is easy to understand, without sacrificing depth or complexity. She draws on her extensive knowledge of art history and cultural context to provide listeners with a comprehensive and engaging exploration of each artwork. The Great Art Explained podcast is also notable for its high production values, with each episode featuring high-quality sound and music to enhance the listening experience. The podcast is visually supported by images of the artworks being discussed, which are available on the Great Art Explained website and social media channels.
- URL: @GreatArtExplained
- Since: 2020
- Average Length: 20 minutes
- Topics covered: A single painting, covered in tremendous detail
Google Arts & Culture
The Google Arts & Culture YouTube channel is a platform that showcases the world’s art and cultural treasures, offering viewers the chance to explore the collections and exhibitions of museums and cultural institutions from around the globe. Launched in 2011, the channel is part of Google’s broader Arts & Culture initiative, which aims to make art and culture more accessible to people around the world. The Google Arts & Culture YouTube channel features a diverse range of content, including virtual tours of museums and galleries, behind-the-scenes videos, interviews with artists and curators, and documentaries on a variety of cultural topics.
The channel’s content is curated in collaboration with museums and cultural institutions from around the world, offering viewers a unique and comprehensive view of global art and culture. One of the key features of the Google Arts & Culture YouTube channel is its use of cutting-edge technology to enhance the viewer experience. The channel uses Google’s Street View technology to offer virtual tours of museums and galleries, allowing viewers to explore these spaces from the comfort of their own homes.
The channel also features 360-degree videos and augmented reality experiences, which allow viewers to engage with art and culture in new and immersive ways. In addition to its emphasis on technology and accessibility, the Google Arts & Culture YouTube channel is also committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity in the arts. The channel features content from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds, and actively seeks to promote underrepresented voices in the art world.
- URL: @googleartsculture
- Since: 2015
- Average Length: 5 minutes with a small number of videos which are an hour
- Topics covered: Paintings, sculpture, music & architecture
Art History School
Art History School is a YouTube channel dedicated to providing accessible and informative art history content for a wide range of viewers. The channel is run by a team of experts in the field of art history and offers a diverse range of content, including videos on specific artists, art movements, and styles, as well as videos exploring broader themes in art history. The channel’s videos typically run between 5-15 minutes in length and feature engaging and well-researched commentary, as well as high-quality images of artworks.
The videos are presented in a clear and easy-to-understand manner, making them accessible to viewers with varying levels of knowledge and interest in art history. Art History School’s videos cover a wide range of topics, from ancient art and architecture to contemporary art and everything in between. Some of the most popular videos on the channel include “The Art of the Renaissance,” “The Genius of Vincent van Gogh,” and “Frida Kahlo: The Woman Behind the Legend.” The channel also offers more in-depth series on specific topics, such as “The History of Photography” and “The Art of Japan.”
One of the unique aspects of Art History School is its focus on engaging with viewers and fostering a sense of community around art history. The channel regularly responds to comments and questions from viewers, and offers additional resources and reading suggestions to those who want to learn more about a particular topic. The channel also features interviews with contemporary artists and experts in the field, giving viewers a glimpse into the world of art beyond the history books.
- URL: @ArtHistorySchool
- Since: 2017
- Average Length: 10 minutes
- Topics covered: Comprehensive artist biographies
The Art Tourist
The Art Tourist is a youtube video channel hosted by Rachel, a copywriter at The Met, and produced by her husband, Jason. It features comprehensive artist biographies from western art history in their ‘know the artist’ series.
- URL: @TheArtTourist
- Since: 2018
- Average Length: 20 minutes
- Topics covered: Comprehensive artist biographies
Honorable Mentions: art history adjacent podcasts we couldn’t not add to the list
The Nerdwriter is a YouTube channel that focuses on the intersection of art, culture, and technology. The channel’s host, Evan Puschak, offers insightful and in-depth analyses of a wide range of topics, including film, music, politics, and social media. While not a traditional art history channel in content, it should be considered as one of the best art history youtube channels as those which do focus on art history (and there are a lot of them) are generally considered to be among the very best. One of the key strengths of The Nerdwriter is its ability to tackle complex ideas and concepts in a clear and accessible way. Puschak uses a combination of research, commentary, and visual aids to explore the themes and meanings behind various artworks and cultural phenomena. The channel’s videos often feature deep dives into specific films, albums, or other creative works, examining the storytelling techniques, visual aesthetics, and underlying messages.
Evan Puschak also offers critiques of current events and political trends, using his expertise in media studies and critical theory to provide a unique perspective on the world around us. The Nerdwriter is known for its high production values, with each video featuring slick editing, crisp sound design, and eye-catching visuals. The channel’s use of cinematic techniques, such as split screens and dynamic camera angles, makes for a visually engaging viewing experience. One of the most compelling aspects of The Nerdwriter is Puschak’s ability to connect seemingly disparate ideas and themes, drawing unexpected parallels between seemingly unrelated topics. This makes for a thought-provoking viewing experience that challenges viewers to think deeply about the world around them.
- URL: @Nerdwriter1
- Since: 2011
- Average Length: 8 minutes
- Topics covered: Western culture – films, paintings, sculptures, music
Baumgartner Restoration is a YouTube channel dedicated to restoring and repairing various antique items such as paintings, sculptures, and other artwork. The channel is run by Julian Baumgartner, a professional art conservator with over 20 years of experience. His videos showcase his meticulous and intricate restoration techniques, which involve careful analysis of the artwork and the use of traditional methods and materials. Viewers can watch him repair cracks, tears, and other forms of damage, as well as clean and polish the artwork to restore its original beauty. Baumgartner’s channel is a fascinating insight into the world of art conservation and restoration.
- URL: @BaumgartnerRestoration
- Since: 2016
- Average Length: 30 minutes
- Topics covered: Painting restoration
What do you think are the best art history youtube channels? Comment below if you have another to add to the list!