Best Podcasts for Art History Lovers

Are you happy now art

The world of art is ever-expanding. Thanks to the many kinds of art there are, it’d be impossible to consider yourself knowledgeable in all the facets of art, at least on a level that allows you to delve into every art piece out there with the awareness you’d need. Sculptures, street art, paintings, photography…art splits into so many branches that in turn split into more and more branches according to movements, techniques, and topics. There’s always something new to find and learn about, and although you may think you come close to understanding art in its entirety, soon you find out there’s still a long way to go!

This applies to the art podcasts too. Some podcasts talk about virtually every facet of art; others talk about the artists themselves, or about how to do marketing as an artist.

Just like how you can’t talk about the entirety of art in one single conversation, this article will have to cover only a couple of topics. Here we will show you podcasts that focus on paintings and the history behind them, usually skewing towards older styles and works instead of modern or contemporary art. Some of the podcasts also talk about the history of art in general. Listen to these podcasts and be prepared to understand better the meaning and stories behind paintings!

The Lonely Palette

#1 The Lonely Palette

The Lonely Palette is an art podcast with an interesting format: everyday people, just like you or I, are interviewed about a piece of artwork. All the opinions are varied and relatable, making this a very memorable podcast!

The Host: Tamar Avishai is at the helm of this podcast! Her role in the podcast is minimal during the segments where she interviews museum visitors, but during the segments where she talks about the artwork and its history, she shows her knowledge and interest in art. Tamar Avishai is very talented; you will enjoy everything she has to say!

The Guests: The podcast features many museum visitors, giving you the refreshing and endearing point of view of the common art enthusiast. You will be surprised how relatable this podcast can be! And as a bonus, you’ll also find out what kind of emotions and impressions the visitors experience.

Why You Have to Listen: Art is for evoking emotions in the viewer. It has the power to make you think and feel. This podcast will show you how it happens! The general public can be more perceptive than you think.

Besides, the podcast is very well made. Background music is used to enhance the experience, and Tamar Avishai’s way of talking and of informing the listener about the facts and details of the artwork is pleasing and casual. She focuses a lot on the emotional details of the artwork, making you understand what the painting should make you feel, as well as the reasons behind those feelings. You will learn about the artist’s mindset and what they tried to communicate with their work, so if that’s what you’re looking for in an art podcast, with the Lonely Palette you will strike gold!

Listen to the Podcast

Must Listen Episodes

Ep. 2 – Christian Boltanski’s “Lumieres (blue square – Sylvie)” (2000) 

Ep. 12 – Jackson Pollock’s “Number 10, 1949” (1949) 

Ep. 14 – Paul Gauguin’s “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?” (1897-98) 

Rating: All Ages

Painting/Drawing Video

#2 Painting/Drawing – Video

Painting/Drawing is a video podcast. These types of podcasts are perfect for art – you can see the artwork and listen to the host and the guests! The California College of the Arts, an esteemed school of art. Of course, that means they have some interesting information to impart to you.

The Host: Technically there’s a host, who introduces the guests who will be teaching in that episode.

The Guests: The purpose of this podcast is educational, which is why all the guests are experts in art. Their way of speaking may require some prior knowledge to understand their arguments and teachings, but the information is excellent for those who want to learn about the artwork!

Why You Have to Watch: The main draw of the podcast is the information imparted by the guests. Thanks to their knowledgeable and didactic way of explaining every piece of artwork, you will feel like you understand every piece of artwork a little better.

The only problem is that the video itself doesn’t have the best quality. In some episodes, there’s noise in the background, loud enough to be distracting. The artwork is shown on a screen, but the resolution of the video may leave something to be desired. If these issues won’t be a deterrent, this podcast is a worthwhile use of your time!

Watch the Podcast 

Must Watch Episodes

Sarah Cain Lecture 

Sandeep Mukherjee Lecture 

Steve Roden Lecture 

Rating: All Ages

Suggested Donation

#3 Suggested Donation

Time flies when you’re having fun – listening to Suggested Donation is that fun! Besides, the hosts know what they’re talking about. If you want to learn about art, why not do it with a podcast that will make it feel like you’re having a lighthearted discussion with your best friends?

The Host: There are two hosts. Tony Curanaj and Edward Minoff are painters, artists who enjoy talking about artwork. They make the podcast energetic and cheerful, full of laughter and banter. Art is fun, and these two make sure you can see how fun it can be!

The Guests: There’s always a new guest to talk with! Artists, curators, restorers, everybody has a place in this podcast.

Why You Have to Listen: Cheerful podcasts are a treat to listen to. When you can tell the hosts enjoy the theme of their podcast, you know it’ll be a fun experience. Tony and Edward give their podcast a warm atmosphere, perfect for talking about art. There’s a lot of banter between the hosts and the guest; it’s clear as day everybody is having a good time.

That doesn’t mean art isn’t treated with the respect and attention it deserves, though. Every guest that comes to the podcast talks about their lives, about the artwork they have created or worked with, and about what inspires them and what their work means for them. Suggested Donation is a very earnest podcast – and that’s what makes it great.

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Must Listen Episodes

Episode 5: George O’Hanlon 

Episode 17: Sadie Valeri 

Episode 25: Brian Booth Craig 

Rating: All Ages

Dr. Great Art

#4 Dr. Great Art: Short, Fun Art History Artecdotes

Here’s another podcast that makes discussions about art and art history be a treat. Dr. Great Art: Short Fun Art History Artecdotes is an interesting podcast, perfect for those who seek an art podcast with short episodes.

The Host: Dr. Mark Staff Brandl is an art historian, a true fan of art history and everything it has to offer. Now he strives to share his knowledge with you so you can enjoy art history as well!

The Guest: Unlike most podcasts in this list, there are no guests in this one!

Why You Have to Listen: First and foremost, any podcast that has a pun in the title has to be delightful, don’t you think?

In all seriousness, Dr. Great Art is as great as the title says. Dr. Brandl is a talented host, blessed with the ability to make the history of art be a fascinating topic. Facts, paintings, artwork, movements – everything gets its turn under the spotlight, and there are a lot of interesting and unusual details you’re likely to be unaware of. The casual attitude and short episodes make this an enjoyable podcast.

New episodes are released sporadically. There doesn’t seem to be a set schedule, but usually, there’s one episode every month.

Listen to the Podcast 

Must Listen Episodes

Episode 42: Defining Visual Metaphor 

Episode 52: Julia Kristeva, Metaphor as Resistance

Episode 60: Mini Episode Picasso

Rating: All Ages

SFMOMA Artcast

#5 SFMOMA Artcast

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art celebrates art with this podcast. You will find it in SFMOMA’s official website. This is a video podcast, perfect for looking at the art while you listen to their teachings!

The Host: There are a couple of people who perform the role of host or hostess — they change depending on the episode. They’re very professional, introducing the topic and guiding the listener with patience and professionalism.

The Guests: How involved the guest is changes from episode to episode, too. All guests are artists – and not limited just to paintings! Sometimes this podcast is like having a glimpse into the guest’s life in real-time, while other times it’s like the guest was interviewed and pieces of the interview are edited into the footage.

Why You Have to Watch: Video podcasts are excellent for art. You’ll enjoy the artwork in all its glory. Even during those episodes where there’s no video and they use something akin to a slideshow of pictures while the guest speaks, there’s care put into the podcast, making sure you will enjoy the art and what the guests have to say about it.

The way background music is used effectively. You can tell SFMOMA truly wanted this podcast to be a nice, enjoyable experience for the viewer, using music to enhance your experience. Nowadays the podcast isn’t updated anymore, but you’ll like the content they created years ago! Don’t forget it’s not available on iTunes, it’s on their official website.

Watch the Podcast 

Must Watch Episodes

Artcast December 2012: Johns and DeFeo 

Artcast August 2013: Conserving Rauschenberg

Artcast October 2013: Diving deep into Beyond Belief 

Rating: All Ages

MoMA Talks

#6 MOMA Talks: Panel Discussions and Symposia

Here’s another podcast you may not be familiar with. It’s not in iTunes, after all. Curiously enough, you can find it in many podcast services except iTunes – all of them are free, you will be able to listen to the podcast no matter what. Enjoy what the Museum of Modern Art has for you in MOMA Talks: Panel Discussions and Symposia!

The Host: In a surprising twist, there’s no host in this podcast!

The Guests: The guests are what makes the podcast shine. Every guest is an expert in the matter, and they bring a carefully crafted speech, full of data and facts about art and history.

Why You Have to Listen:  Technically this podcast is an archive of panel discussions and symposia the MOMA has hosted. Every episode has varying length: the shorter ones are less than twenty minutes long, while the longest episodes can last several hours. Those that are divided into two parts are quite long – one of the two-part episodes is ten hours long! If you’re looking for a podcast with large quantities of content, this one is for you.

You should keep in mind this podcast is for academic purposes, which is why it can be somewhat difficult at times. Prior knowledge of art can be a lot of help, but it’s not required. 

Listen to the Podcast 

Must Listen Episodes

The Feminist Future: Keynote Address: Lucy R. Lippard, Question and Answer

Caribbean Modernist Architecture Symposium: Keynote: Enrique Norten

Caribbean Modernist Architecture Symposium: Panel Two: Jean Doucet

Rating: Adult

Tateshots

#7 Tateshots

This is quite an unusual podcast. You will see there are very short documentaries presenting artists, modern art, artworks, and other similar topics. Tateshots is a truly great video podcast, perfect for those who like documentaries!

The Host: You could say the host of this podcast is behind the camera. They don’t speak, but it’s thanks to them the podcast exists.

The Guests: Every episode has a new guest, an artist who will show some of their art just for you! The variety of guests in this podcast is truly interesting!

Why You Have to Watch: This podcast is particularly well-made. Each episode is professionally edited! Every shot is good, every guest receives the focus they deserve, plus the opportunity to show the camera what they do and how they do it. Looking at the artwork and listening to the artist talk about it is a very gratifying experience!

Tateshots focuses on contemporary art as well as what the artist wants to communicate, and there’s a special focus on the hard work behind them, by showing the artist’s method and finished product. Frankly, this may be the best art video podcast out there. Watch a few episodes and decide if this is the right kind of content for you!

Watch the Podcast 

Must Watch Episodes

Why Dance in a Museum? How Art Became Active Ep 1 of 5 

Goshka Macuga: ‘The magic is the unknown’ 

Irina Nakhova: ‘Real Freedom in Your Apartment’ 

Rating: All Ages

Everyday Paintings

#8 Everyday Paintings: A Video Podcast

This is another video podcast with short episodes. In this one you will be in close quarters with the host’s artwork – Everyday Paintings is great for those who are interested in finding out about the details and work a contemporary artist does.

The Host: David R. Darrow is a very talented painter. Every piece of art he shows is good and, although he doesn’t talk in every episode, it feels like he’s proudly showing the viewer his work. You don’t always need words to make your viewer feel welcome!

The Guest: No guests in this one, unless you count the paintings themselves!

Why You Have to Watch: Every episode is short and sweet. The paintings are nice to look at, and when Mr. Darrow talks about them you truly can learn about it. In the episodes he doesn’t say anything the images are worth a thousand words – you can even watch the painting be created right in front of you as if you were watching a tutorial.

Every episode is competently edited. Mr. Darrow’s goal was to create a painting every day, from start to finish, and although the podcast isn’t updated anymore, you can enjoy the artwork he created and admire the kind of paintings a good artist can create in one single day. Have fun!

Watch the Podcast 

Must Watch Episodes

Oil Painting demo: Ixia 

The Fragrance of Gardenias 

The Grid Method of Drawing Projection 

Ratings: All Ages

The Renaissance Podcast

#9: The Renaissance: A History Of Renaissance Art

Now this is a history podcast! The Renaissance: a History of Renaissance Art is perfect for those who like anything about the history of art – a podcast focused on one of the most important periods.

The Host: The host’s name is Denis Byrd, an expert in this period. His voice will guide you through this wonderful era of art.

The Guests: There are no guests in this podcast – quite a rarity in this genre.

Why You Have to Listen: There’s a reason why the Renaissance is the period a lot of people mention when they talk about classical art. It’s full of important artwork, and the artists that created them are well known by the general public. It’s a period so full of meaning and of interesting artwork historians like to delve deep into everything it has to offer! And now, with podcasts like this one, you can too.

Every episode is about a different artwork. Both paintings and sculptures feature heavily in this podcast, giving it variety. You will find out what we know about each one, what the artist may have thought. You will be closer to understanding the artwork and appreciate it even more! That’s what makes this podcast interesting, you really can feel like you’re learning from it. If you have a passion for history, you’ll enjoy every minute of it!

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Must Listen Episodes

17 – Savonarola: The Bonfires of the Vanities – The Renaissance: A History of Renaissance Art

19 – Michelangelo: Florence to Rome – The Renaissance: A History of Renaissance Art 

Episode 26 – Vasari: Art and History – The Renaissance: A History of Renaissance Art 

Rating: All Ages

European Paintings podcast

#10 European Painting, Sculpture, And Decorative Arts – Special Exhibitions

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has several podcasts, among them this one. The European Painting, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts is a series of podcasts that show some of the exhibitions the MoMA has. This one, in particular, is about the special exhibitions.

The Host: This video podcast’s host presents the guest that will impart the lesson. Other than that, his role in this video podcast is minimal.

The Guests: Every episode has a different guest! Each guest talks about the artwork with so much detail you’ll be surprised how much meaning there’s in every painting. The level of knowledge the guests have is truly impressive.

Why You Have to Watch: These are recordings of conferences imparted by the MoMA, but the quality of the recording is surprisingly good. You will be able to watch the details of every image the guests show, allowing you to immerse yourself into the episode and enjoy it as if you were sitting right there in the room.

The best part is how the information flows. There can be so much symbolism and meaning hidden in every piece of artwork, and the guest makes sure to complement their teachings with some very detailed explanations about history and civilizations. You’ll feel like you’re truly learning and understanding artwork like you haven’t ever before! This is a great video podcast, perfect for those who want to learn about art history.

Watch the Podcast  

Must Watch Episodes

The Age of Rembrandt

Cast in Bronze: French Sculpture from Renaissance to Revolution 

Poussin and Nature: Arcadian Visions 

Rating: All Ages

European Paintings podcast

#11 European Paintings, Sculpture, And Decorative Arts – Audio

This is another podcast similar to the one at #10 – but this one is European Paintings, Sculpture, and Decorative Art is exclusively audio. Don’t worry about how they have the same title, the topics on this podcast are different. If you like MoMA’s way of teaching, you’ll like this one too!

The Host: In this podcast, the host has a larger role. There tends to be a different one in each episode, depending on what will be the topic to discuss.

The Guests: The host changes in every episode, and so does the guest! You’ll watch curators and experts who know about the artist and artwork. The MoMA knows how to find the best guests according to each topic!

Why You Have to Listen: This podcast has all the quality of a podcast by MoMA – the only difference is that it’s all audio, with no video at all to accompany it. You can listen to it while you work on something else. The downside? How few episodes there are. There are four episodes and the most recent one was quite a long time ago.

Don’t let that deter you: what you’ll listen and learn is worth it! They discuss the artist’s artwork, they even mention if they have it in the MoMA’s collection. Despite not being a video podcast, the quality is as high as the MoMA’s other podcasts.

Listen to the Podcast 

Must Listen Episodes

Gustave Courbet 

Velázquez Rediscovered 

Michelangelo’s First Painting

Rating: All Ages

Plein Air Podcast

#12 Plein Air Art Podcast

Have you ever heard of the Plein Air magazine? It’s a magazine centered around outdoors painting. It’s a widespread technique in the world of art, which is why the magazine and the podcast exist. The Plein Air Art Podcast is all about this technique.

The Host: The host, Eric Rhoads, is the founder of the Plein Air Magazine! Needless to say he’s an expert in the matter.

The Guests: It’s only fitting a podcast centered around the plein air technique would talk with artists who are proficient in this technique. You’ll hear about so many artists in this podcast! There also are guests such as authors, conference speakers, and other professions related to art in some way.

Why You Have to Listen: Since the podcast is about a specific technique, you’ll hear about a lot of paintings and artwork, created by the guests Mr. Rhoads interviews. Each episode is quite long, full of information that will teach you to love outdoors painting.

There are other interesting sections in the podcast, too. For example, the Marketing Minute advises how to do marketing correctly as an artist, a crucial skill for any independent artist.

Listen to the Podcast 

Must Listen Episodes

PleinAir Art Podcast Episode 87: Scott Christensen 

John Poon on Painting Landscapes in Four Steps and More 

Raleigh Kinney on Painting with Watercolor, and More 

Rating: All Ages

The World of Watercolor Painting with Brigit O'Connor

#13 Birgit O’Connor And The World Of Watercolor Painting

Just like the #12 podcast, this one is all about a technique – watercolors, to be precise. Birgit O’Connor is an expert in watercolors and paintings created with this interesting technique. If you’re a fan of watercolors, this podcast is perfect for you.

The Host: Just like the name of the podcast says, the hostess is Birgit O’Connor, artist and teacher. The world of watercolor painting is so much easier to understand thanks to her guidance.

The Guests: You will find Birgit O’Connor often interviews fellow artists and experts, encouraging them to share their life stories and painting techniques.

Why You Have to Listen: It may not come as a surprise that watercolors can be a difficult technique to master, but it’s so much easier when someone is guiding you. That’s where Birgit O’Connor comes in! In the episodes with no guests, she shows artwork and instructs you how to paint with watercolors, making sure you understand it’s something you can do with some practice.

In the episodes where there are guests, you will find out about their lives and receive advice as well as find resources that will be useful in your quest to learn this technique. Books, watercolor kits, and other similar items will be shown to you.

Listen to the Podcast 

Must Listen Episodes

#018 Say it out Loud Part 1 

#022 Building an Artist Website Part 1

#044 Let’s talk watercolor, with Guest artist Sterling Edwards 

Rating: All Ages

The Art History Babes

#14 The Art History Babes

The Art History Babes, which discusses art history and gives it a new, fresh spin may be one of the most known art-related podcasts currently on iTunes. Their way of discussing the details of history and artwork will get you hooked right from the first episode you listen to!

The Host: Four hostesses, to be accurate: Corrie, Natalie, Ginny, and Jen. Sometimes only two or three are present. It’s just as the podcast description says: “Four fresh Masters drink wine and discuss all things visual culture.”

The Guests: Usually there are no guests, but when there are, you’ll find they’re quite interesting people! Founders of galleries, art historians, and other experts have been guests in this show.

Why You Have to Listen: It’s not surprising this is one of the most popular art podcasts out there. Their excellent chemistry, way of having banter without getting distracting, and especially their way of talking about so many interesting details about artwork, paintings, and art history, make this a really fun podcast to have on your playlist.

Their selection of topics is quite wide, too. From Bob Ross to Stonehenge to Chinese calligraphy, you’re likely to find topics that will catch your attention right away. The fame this podcast has is well deserved; we wholeheartedly recommend giving it a try.

Listen to the Podcast 

Must Listen Episodes:

Hieronymus Bosch 

Abstract Expressionism 

The Joy of Podcasting with Bob Ross 

Rating: Teen+

Elin Pendleton

#15 Elin Pendleton’s Daily Paintings/Art Lessons

The best way to understand a painting is when the author tells you the meaning behind it. That’s what this podcast is for – Elin Pendleton will tell you all about the paintings she creates.

The Host: Elin Pendleton is a rather proficient artist, nationally recognized for her Color System for painters. You may have seen her instructional DVDs and helpful resources.

The Guests: No guests in this podcast, given how short each episode is.

Why to Watch this Podcast: Every episode will show you one of Elin Pendleton’s daily artwork, allowing you to see the beauty in all its splendor.

Each episode lasts less than a minute, but during that time Elin Pendleton tells you so much about the soul and feelings she poured into each painting. You will feel like you understand her artwork, knowing what inspired her and how it makes her feel. All artists want to connect with the viewer, and that’s just what this podcast accomplishes.

Watch the Podcast

Must Watch Episodes

California Sunset #1, Acrylic – Daily Painting

Sunflowers – Daily Painting 

Basket of Strawberries, 6 x 6 Oil, Nov. 16- Daily Painting

Rating: All Ages

Artist Decoded

#16 Artist Decoded

Artist Decoded deviates a little from the theme of this article, but it’s as important and interesting as all the other podcasts we have featured. This is another podcast you should give a try to no matter what!

The Host: Yoshino is a visual artist who started this podcast as a passion project. Five years later, the project is still going! You also will listen to Justin D. Hopkins and Saman Kesh, talented artists who perform as co-hosts in some episodes.

The Guests: Every episode has a different guest, and they’re quite varied. Musicians, actors, artists, all kinds of guests are welcome. All sorts of arts are discussed in the podcast, creating some really interesting opinions and discussions.

Why You Have to Listen: This podcast is very professional. Yoshino and the guest have frank conversations, making sure to touch upon motivations, feelings, everything that gives art meaning.

The episodes where the guests are artists are the reason why we have included the podcast in this article. Listening to the guest artists is an enthralling experience, and Yoshino and his co-hosts are proficient at creating a fulfilling and interesting conversation. In the end, isn’t that what art interviews should strive to be?

Listen to the Podcast 

#21: Phil Hale – “Juxtaposition” 

#96: Martin Starr X Saman Kesh – “Augmenting Human Connection”

#131: Zoey Frank – “Observations of the Mundane” 

Rating: All Ages

————

Paintings are one of the cornerstones of the art world, especially when it’s from one of the periods that defined art up to the present day. All these podcasts will help you not only know more about art history but also understand paintings and other similar artwork. Isn’t that what art is for? For communicating with the public and help them understand a feeling or a point? That’s why these podcasts embody the spirit of art.

Art can change the world, but for now, it will change your daily life once you find an art podcast you like!

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About the author

Summary

Podcasts, audio, writing, and reviews are what Nicolas' life revolves around. At day he searches interesting podcasts for listening and sharing, at night he searches ways to improve himself. Find out about some of the podcasts he has listened to!

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Four years of writing experience have given Nicolas versatility -- and the podcasts he listened during that work made it all rather enjoyable! Now, as part of Vurbl's editorial team, he uses his skills to bring podcasts to the spotlight.

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