Welcome to Obelisk, a place to explore the wildly diverse world of art history. Dive into 40,000 years of human creativity, discover artwork from around the world, and explore the stories of history’s most creative and inspiring people. Obelisk can be used as a textbook for art history or as a resource to support one. More than 100 universities and colleges around the world send students here to dig into the timeline of art and tackle basics like composition and history methodologies.
I started Obelisk nearly ten years ago, though it was called Trivium at the time. If you're curious, you can read the full history of the project. From a simple classroom resource, Obelisk has grown to include thousands of high-quality images of artwork, hundreds of essays on movements and themes in art, letters and manifestos by artists, and a smattering of quizzes and projects. Obelisk is an always-growing labor of love, and whether you're new to the world of art or a seasoned expert, if you poke around I suspect you'll find something new and interesting. I used to call Obelisk a platform, but it's more accurate to say it's an invitation. Let's go look at some art.
— Reed Enger, Founder
Reed Enger is a designer and writer developing intuitive device intelligence at Google in NYC, and building and writing for Obelisk during late nights and early mornings. A decade in design has taken Reed to live and work on both coasts and build digital products across education, technology, entertainment and financial industries. Reed's love of art and history started young—a childhood spent pouring through the stately black and white images and solemn typesetting of an inherited Janson's History of Art.
Many thanks to my wife Angie whose supernatural patience and social consciousness has both enabled this work and immeasurably improved it, to my mother Robin for introducing me to the endless mysteries of art and teaching me to teach myself, to Rick Love, whose exuberant conversations and many contributions kept the fire alive for years, to the students of UNWSP who both contributed to the site and actively tested it, and many thanks to Amy Sudarsky, Glenna Hartwell, Andrew Pianta, Che Pedrosa, Lorraine Bockmier, Jerry Mermel and all of Obelisk's members on Patreon whose support is invaluable to keeping this project alive.
Obelisk is a free resource. I've toyed with various subscription models over the years and it's just never felt right. That said, your support has been absolutely essential for keeping Obelisk online, and if you want to help out, you've got options! The most amazing thing you can do is to become a member on Patreon for just $3/mo and get access to a chaotic feed of my behind-the-scenes process, but you can also pick up a beautiful archival print or grimdark tote bag from the Obelisk store, buy a book through one of our Amazon affiliate links, or click on one of the tiny little ads in the top right of the page. All of this helps, and it's all tremendously appreciated.