I wasn’t quite sure what to call this best-of list, since it includes art hosted on online forums, commercial sites, museum sites, online galleries, and a portfolio site as well. I went with “25 Best Art Gallery Sites,” though that’s not quite accurate. Basically, what I’ve assembled here is a list of the 25 best sites for finding great artwork, both the traditional and the digital kinds. The amount of quality artwork available for viewing online is just staggering. The Art Renewal Center alone has over 60,000 paintings and drawings on its site. Then there’s the Smithsonian, the Royal Collection, the National Museum of American Illustration…there’s a lot of art here. You might want to bookmark this page for future reference.
If you know of a site that should be
The Royal Collection “e-Gallery Online” hosts a large number of works from the Queen’s own art collection. Searchable and well-organized. You can file reprint requests here, as well.
This is the site for studying the work of Johannes Vermeer. Every work by the master is here, along with information about the time period and the artist. High-resolution images. A beautifully-designed site.
The National Museum of American Illustration, whose collection is housed in a Gilded Age mansion in Newport, RI, hosts this site showcasing illustrators of the “Golden Age of Illustration.” The online samples are small and few in number, but it’s a good place to get started learning about N.C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle, Maxfield Parrish, and other greats of the period.
The Fantasy Fine Art gallery is traditional fantasy art by some two dozen artists, including Frank Frazetta, the Hildebrandt brothers, and Steven Stahlberg.
Olga’s Gallery hosts over 10,000 paintings, arranged alphabetically, by country, and by art movement. A simple site focused on presenting art (and some ads).
The Smithsonian American Art Museum has a large number of online exhibitions.
The Museum Syndicate site hosts over 28,000 works by 740 artists, and the numbers continue to grow. You can browse by artist, country, museum, or by a list of tags.
The Salmagundi Club, in New York City, has been around since 1871. They hold many exhibitions each year. Click on the link to go to a page with several dozen exhibition links.
The Athenaeum site hosts over 40,000 browsable works of art. Click on the image, left, to go to the full list. You can sort the list by artist name or artwork title.
The Art Renewal Center site contains over 60,000 art works, making it probably the largest repository of art images on the internet. The emphasis here is on classical works.
11. Stroke of Genius
Stroke of Genius is a commercial site that features working professional portrait artists (traditional media only). The quality here is second to none. A great place to study portraiture.
As a painting medium, egg tempera predates oil painting. This site The emphasis works by members of the Society of Tempera Painters.
The Colored Pencil Society of America site has galleries showing works from past exhibitions. If you’ve never seen what colored pencil can do, this site will surprise you.
14. Jason Godbey
Jason Godbey is a brilliant young artist working in the digital realm. His architectural scenes are both complex and serene at the same time. A master of mood and light.
15. CG Society
While you’ll find great artwork all over the forums at the CG Society site, the cream of the crop is here, at the CG Choice Awards galleries. Digital masterworks, divided up by 2D and 3D.
As with the CG Society site, Epilogue has an overwhelming amount of work to sort through, so again I’ve provided a link to the Editor’s Choice listing. Fantasy and science fiction only.
17. 3D Total
3D total is another juried site, and the work here is just superb. You can browse by several different categories. The emphasis is definitely on quality over quantity. Highly recommended.
3DM3.com was started up in 2001, with a focus on 3D, but some 2D as well. There is a rating system that allows the best work to float to the top. Check out the “best of” listings.
19. CG Arena
CG Arena has juried submissions and an active community, so there’s some excellent work here. It’s broken down by 2D and 3D. Again, quality over quantity. Enjoy!
20. Waichulis Studio
The Waichulis Studio, an atelier in Northeastern Pennsylvania. There’s some nearly superhuman rendering going on up near Scranton. Check it out, and be amazed. Trompe l’oeil lives!