Who decided what’s in 250 Masterpieces?

Art history experts and authors!

Here’s how: we got 25 art history books (left) used in AP art history, art appreciation, and college art history courses, as well as some “best of” books. Think 17,000 pages of art history!

We recorded which paintings were reproduced and discussed by these art historians, counted the “votes” for each painting, and took the top 250.

Why shouldn’t people make their own cards?

1. Downloading, cutting and pasting take tons of time with iffy quality.  As one customer said:

“I tried making my own cards by gluing pictures onto index cards, which was very time-consuming.  Also, I wasn’t able to put all of the key information I needed onto my home-made cards, and the quality wasn’t very good.” (H. McDonald).

2. Our Cards feature noteworthy paintings from 25 art history books, not just one.

3. Each painting is analyzed by an art historian (or two), offering diverse interpretations! And then…

4. Our Cards are sturdy and portable, designed for a lifelong appreciation of art. By anyone. Anywhere.

Are these THE most famous and best paintings in Western art?

That’s too bold! Some of the best paintings aren’t here because their art museums would not grant image and reproduction rights. Go figure.

These are Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych, Frankenthaler’s Mountains and Sea, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Schlemmer’s Bauhaus Stairway, and Magritte’s The Menaced Assassin.

What’s the time period covered?

Renaissance paintings through Pop art paintings, from the Limbourg Brothers to Victor Vasarély, from 1440s to 1960s.

Which art historians are used to provide analysis of these famous paintings?

The authors of these art history books are among them.  A footnotes Card in the set provides specifics.

Who made Masterpiece Cards?

Susan Benford and her late dog, Orion (above), with a helping hand from her husband.

The idea for Masterpiece Cards came from my wanting to learn about the best paintings QUICKLY, from watching students (still!) making art history flashcards, and from wanting a focused itinerary in art museums.