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100 Awesome Lectures for Art Enthusiasts

Whether you’re studying art, or are just interested in learning more about it, there’s plenty of information to be found online. Some of the best resources for learning about art online are lectures, many of them offered by top universities like MIT, Princeton, and Harvard. Here, we’ll take a look at 100 incredible lectures for your art education.


Learn about the art industry, creativity, neuroscience, and more in these lectures.

  1. The Nature of Creativity: This lecture offers a discussion on creativity and spirituality. [MIT]
  2. Beauty in Art, Music, Literature and Philosophy: A variety of speakers explore beauty in art and beyond. [Princeton]
  3. For the Love of It: Collecting Drawings in the Nineteenth Century: In this presentation, you’ll learn about connoisseurship of art. [Minneapolis Institute of Arts]
  4. Place, Art, and Self: This lecture discusses the intersection between place, art, and self. [Princeton]
  5. Talking Art: Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist offers a discussion on her video art. [Tate]
  6. Inventing Concepts for a New Museum: Yves Abrioux presents on the future of museums. [WGBH]
  7. Aesthetic Universals and the Neurology of Hindu Art: Vilayanur S. Ramachandran shares insight into visual perception. [UCSD]
  8. WB Yeats: Among School Children: Professor Helen Vendler discusses a poem by WB Yeats. [Harvard@Home]
  9. Maybe It’s Not Just About the Money: Ben Cameron’s lecture explores the opportunities and challenges facing the arts industry. [WGBH]
  10. Gallery of the Louvre: You’ll get a look into masterpieces in this lecture. [WGBH]
  11. Voice and Vision in Southern Self-Taught Art: This panel discussion covers self-taught art in a cultural context. [WGBH]
  12. Jane Prophet: An Artist’s View of the Future of the Museum: Find out what the future of museums is from this British artist. [WGBH]
  13. Good Artists Tend to Be Bad Students: This video explains why good artists are often bad students. [Boston University]
  14. Selective Attention: Barbara Stafford’s lecture offers a view of the relationship between art museums and neuroscience. [WGBH]
  15. The Difficult Task of Erasing Oneself: Yve-Alain Bois shares this lecture on the artist erasing all traces of him or herself. [IAS]
  16. Neurology and the Passion for Art: You can see how the brain perceives works of art in this lecture. [UCSD]
  17. Create Dangerously-The Immigrant Artist at Work: In this lecture, you’ll learn about the life and works of immigrant artists. [Princeton]


Watch these lectures to get into some of the theories of art.

  1. Introduction to Theories of Modernism and Modernity: Get a look into Modernism with this lecture. [MIT]
  2. Introduction to Theories of Mass Culture: Follow this lecture to learn about mass culture theories. [MIT]
  3. Theory of the Avant-garde: In this lecture, you’ll be able to learn about Avant-garde theory. [MIT]

History & Impact

These lectures will show you how art and history are often intertwined.

  1. How to Imagine Liberty: This lecture examines Eugene Delacroix in post-revolutionary France. [MIT]
  2. Art is Action: Culture, Violence, Civil Society: These panelists discuss art as action in culture, violence, and civil society. [Princeton]
  3. Sensation Scandals on the Eve of the French Revolution: In this lecture, you’ll learn about the scandals linking French politics to the arts. [WGBH]
  4. Art History Introduction: Learn about the history of a piece of art through this lecture. [YouTube]
  5. Caricature and the Safehouse of "High Art": Follow this lecture to learn about high art and design in post-revolutionary France. [MIT]
  6. The President and the Arts: Dana Gioia shares his view that the arts should be a more prominent topic in presidential politics. [WGBH]
  7. Religious Art History: Sculptor Hamilton Reed Armstrong lectures on the sacred in art. [International Catholic University]
  8. Lives and Landscapes of the French Monarchy: Explore the lives of the monarchs in the pinnacle of art and refinement through this lecture. [WGBH]
  9. The Soviet Avant-Garde: In this lecture, you’ll get a look into the Soviet avant-garde. [MIT]


These lectures focus on specific movements throughout art history.

  1. Courbet, Realism, and Popular Images: This lecture explores Realism and painting modern life. [MIT]
  2. Futurism’s and Dadaism’s Popular Mechanics: In this lecture you can follow the popular mechanics of Futurism and Dadaism. [MIT]
  3. Postmodernism and Institutional Critique: This lecture offers a look into Postmodernism. [MIT]
  4. Clarice Smith Distinguished Lectures on American Art: David Driskell: David Driskell’s lecture explores the subject of African American Art. [Smithsonian]
  5. Manet and Cezanne: The ‘Heroics’ of Modernism: Carol Armstrong offers this lecture on modern art history. [Princeton]
  6. 20th Century Modern Art: This lecture offers insight into modern art in the 20th century. [YouTube]
  7. Anti-culture?: This lecture explores Dubuffet, graffiti and the art of the insane. [MIT]
  8. International Pop and Anti-Pop: Check out this lecture to learn about international pop and Anti-Pop. [MIT]
  9. The Impressionist Eye as Camera: In this lecture, you’ll learn how Impressionists functioned as a camera. [MIT]
  10. Italian Neorealism: View this lecture to learn about the masters in Italian neorealism. [MIT]
  11. Avant-garde: This lecture offers a view of the Avant-garde in Literature and Cinema. [MIT]
  12. Rosen Art Lecture: Dr. Aaron Rosen lectures on Jewish art with influence from Jewish, Christian, and Islamic arts. [YouTube]
  13. Postmodernism, Feminism: Follow this lecture to get an understanding of Postmodernism and Feminism. [MIT]
  14. Autonomous Art Movements & the Historical Avant-garde: In this lecture, you’ll learn about autonomous art movements. [MIT]
  15. Serial Impressions (Print and Eye): Understand Modernist anxiety from this lecture. [MIT]
  16. Harlem Renaissance and Paris: This lecture offers a view into the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and its connection to Paris, France. [WGBH]
  17. Futurism: This lecture will give you an understanding of Futurism. [MIT]
  18. European Orientalism and Gaugin’s Skirt: Get a look into Gaugin’s Skirt and European Orientalism in this lecture. [MIT]
  19. African Art in the World: See the adventures of an African sculpture in this lecture. [WGBH]
  20. American Pop and the "Business Art Business": In this lecture, you’ll be able to learn about American Pop art. [MIT]


Get an in-depth look into specific artists through these lectures.

  1. Manet and Modernization: Find out how Manet impacted Modernization in this lecture. [MIT]
  2. Samuel Beckett (1906-1989): You’ll learn about Samuel Beckett’s Avant-garde literature in this lecture. [MIT]
  3. Staging Life: Andres Serrano: Through this lecture, you can learn more about the controversial and celebrated artist Andres Serrano. [Tate]
  4. Clarice Smith Distinguished Lectures in American Art: James Rosenquist: This lecture shares information about James Rosenquist’s large scale paintings. [Smithsonian]
  5. An Artist Against His Time: Peter Paret discusses the works of Ernst Barlach of German modernism. [IAS]
  6. Raphael, Castiglione, and Court Portraiture: You’ll learn about Raphael’s Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione in this lecture. [WGBH]
  7. The Jackson Pollock Case: This lecture explores Jackson Pollock. [MIT]
  8. Kandinsky (1886-1944): This lecture discusses Kandinsky’s role in the Avant-garde. [MIT]
  9. Picasso’s Cubism: You can learn about politics and semiosis in Picasso’s Cubism from this lecture. [MIT]
  10. Robert Rauschenberg’s Coca-Cola Plan: See how Robert Rauschenberg marketed Coca-Cola in this lecture. [MIT]
  11. Marie Antoinette: Patron of the Arts: Virginia Shearer’s lecture portrays Marie Antoinette as a fervent arts patron. [WGBH]
  12. Georges Bataille (1897-1962): Check out this lecture to learn about Georges Bataille in the Avant-garde. [MIT]


In these lectures, you can examine women in art.

  1. Mass Culture and Woman: Check out this lecture to see how mass culture and woman work together in art. [MIT]
  2. Women as Patrons of the Decorative Arts: Peter Brown’s lecture explores women and their decorative arts collections. [WGBH]
  3. Women in Art: View this lecture from Philip Scott Johnson to learn about 500 years of female portraits in Western art. [YouTube]


These lectures take a look at fashion as art.

  1. Report on the Present: Fashion Culture, Culture Fashion: Follow this lecture to understand today’s fashion culture. [MIT]
  2. Marie Antoinette: Queen of Fashion: See how Marie-Antoinette’s clothing choices altered the course of French history from this lecture. [WGBH]

Visual Arts

Get a study in visual arts through these lectures.

  1. Woman and The Modern City: This lecture explores women in mass culture. [MIT]
  2. Through a Looking Glass: The Art of the Science of Renaissance Painting: This lecture explains the science of Renaissance paintings. [Princeton]
  3. Contemporary Sculpture and the Social Turn: This panel discusses the issue of art in the public space. [Tate]
  4. Weaving Science into Sculpture: Nathalie Miebach’s lecture explains how she weaves scientific data into three-dimensional sculptures. [WGBH]
  5. Recreating the Conversations of Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese: Frederick Ilchman’s lecture offers a discussion on the art and creative rivalries of the great Venetian painters. [WGBH]
  6. Let’s Put On a Puppet Show: Learn about puppet theater in contemporary art and society from this lecture. [MIT]


These lectures offer a focus on the art of photography.

  1. Al Sol: Images of Mexico, Cameroon, and Nicaragua: Stella Johnson offers a discussion of her Al Sol collection in this lecture. [WGBH]
  2. New Media Art: Sam Taylor Wood presents on modern photography and film. [WGBH]
  3. Vanderwarker’s Pantheon: View this lecture to see a discussion on Peter Vanderwarker’s photographs of Boston’s buildings and people. [WGBH]
  4. Greta Pratt: Nineteen Lincolns: You can learn about a photographic work that portrays the life of Abraham Lincoln in this lecture. [WGBH]
  5. Introduction: Camera/Light: Learn some of the most important concepts in photography from this lecture. [MIT]
  6. Photography in the Street and Studio: This study takes a look at different histories of the photographic portrait. [Tate]
  7. (Sur)realism and Photography: Check out this lecture to explore surrealism in photography. [MIT]
  8. Lost in Learning: In this lecture, Eva Timothy discusses the idea of a modern educational Renaissance through a visual investigation of the previous one. [WGBH]
  9. Historical Photographs of Children and Families from the Boston Athenaeum: Sally Pierce shares information about daguerreotypes, tintypes, and other vintage portraiture. [WGBH]


Study the art of film in these lectures.

  1. Film as Visual and Literary Mythmaking: This lecture will help you understand how film works as visual and literary philosophy. [MIT]
  2. Julie & Julia: Judith Jones, Julia Child’s longtime publisher and editor, shares a discussion of the film Julie & Julia in this lecture. [WGBH]
  3. American Masters: Hollywood Chinese: This lecture will give you a look at Chinese Americans in American cinema. [WGBH]
  4. Women in Film: In this video, you’ll learn about the various women who have starred in films throughout the years. [YouTube]
  5. Chaplin: Learn about Chaplin in films from this lecture. [MIT]
  6. Film as a Global and Cultural Form: This lecture discusses German film as a global and cultural form. [MIT]
  7. A Conversation with Mira Nair: In this discussion with Mira Nair, you’ll learn about the creative journey of film. [Harvard@Home]
  8. Do Movies Have a Future?: This lecture discusses the future of the film industry. [Princeton]
  9. Queer Filmmaking Evolution: View this panel to get a discussion of queer filmmaking and its history. [WGBH]
  10. Joss Whedon, Cultural Humanist: Joss Whedon discusses Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog and more. [WGBH]


These lectures are great for studying music.

  1. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony: Then and Now: Check out this lecture to find out why the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven is so important. [Harvard@Home]
  2. Classical Music and the Subject of Modernity: Hear this lecture to learn about modern classical music. [British Academy]
  3. What Happens When Art Collides with its Society?: James Conlon discusses compositions and performances affected by events in society. [USC]
  4. ARTS: Being a Successful Musician: This lecture will teach you about the skills you need to make it in the music business. [USC]
  5. Blue Notes and Butterflies: Black Women’s Vocality: Farah Jasmine Griffin of Columbia University discusses black women vocalists in this lecture. [Harvard@Home]
  6. Hip Hop: Art & Life: This lecture features Princeton University’s Cornel West, rapper Talib Kweli and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California. [Princeton]
  7. ARTS: Going Forward as an Artist: This video will help you learn how to grow as a musical artist. [USC]
  8. Bach Manuscripts: Recovery of the Hidden Archive: You can learn about the discovery of half a million Bach records in this lecture. [Harvard@Home]
  9. ARTS: Finding Your Voice as a Musician: Find out how you can find your own voice as a musician from this lecture. [USC]

September 7th, 2009 written by Staff Writers

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