I’m Ellen Oredsson, a GLAM worker with an art history background passionate about making art and culture more accessible and letting more people bore their friends with art history facts.
One of the things I don’t like about art history is that many people are excluded from it. It’s not taught thoroughly at most high schools, it’s a university degree for those who are not in need of a high-paying job, and it has a language that you can’t participate in unless you’ve been specifically educated in it.
While most people can “read” movies (that is, can recognise tropes, character clichés and genres), the ability to “read” artworks is not common knowledge like it once was. And it’s a shame, because museums and galleries are much less fun when you don’t really know what you’re looking at.
I started this blog in 2015 to make art history a bit more accessible, posting updates explaining a variety of art historical topics. If I get a question about a specific topic, I’ll post about it, so if you want to ask a question, do and I will answer it on the site. Any question, even if you’re embarrassed to ask it (especially if you’re embarrassed to ask it.)
P.S. Want more of my writing? I help create content for M+ Stories, the museum blog/publishing platform for M+ museum of visual culture in Hong Kong! When I’m not updating How To Talk About Art History, you can find me writing about fun art stuff there, like the history of performance art in Asia or behind-the-scenes conservation adventures.
Note: If you would like to reference one of the articles on the website, the author is always Ellen Oredsson unless otherwise noted.
Artworks in main page banner (L – R): ‘Woman holding a cat’ (1800) by Utagawa Toyokuni ; ‘At the Moulin Rouge: Two women dancing’ (1892) by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec; ‘Portrait of a young black woman’ (1890s) by Simon Willem Maris; ‘Portrait of Lady Hoja, consort of the Qing Dynasty Qianlong Emperor’ (mid-18th century) by Giuseppe Castiglione; ‘Self portrait with loose hair’ (1947) by Frida Kahlo