Melbourne art historian and video creator Mary McGillivray has recently gained a lot of popularity for sharing and educating people about tips on how to become an art expert.
A lot of people often have difficulty and doubt related to identifying the time period in which the artwork belongs. You can be a great artist, but even though it can be very tricky to figure out certain things a piece of art. So, we decided to interview the art historian and find out what are the key tips of becoming an ‘Art Expert’.
Mary was very kind to show us how she started from studying art history to creating educational videos. “The story begins back in Australia’s first COVID lockdown in 2020—ah, memories—where I found myself stuck at home with nothing to do. On a whim, I decided to put my degree in art history and my skills as a professional video editor to good use and make TikToks to entertain myself. I had no idea people would like my jokes about homoerotic frescoes as much as they did, but 10 months later, here we are!”
This Australian art historian is helping educate millions of people
In some of her witty videos, she explains how we can impress our friends by learning to recognize different art movements and artists
#1 “If It Looks Like The Chaos After A Blackout Where Everyone Is Stumbling Around In The Dark Under One Solitary Emergency Light, It’s A Caravaggio”
#2 “If Its A Portrait Of Rembrandt, It’s A Rembrandt”
#3 “If It Looks Like You Need Your Glasses Prescription Updated, Then It’s Impressionism”
#4 “If Everyone In The Painting Looks Unreasonably Jacked, Including The Women, It’s A Michelangelo”
Mary shared with us that she always had a knack and a passion for art history. In her early childhood, she has been raised by an art history teacher and a museum curator. “You could say it’s ‘in my blood!'”.
“Ever since I watched John Berger’s ‘Ways of Seeing’ in high school, I knew I wanted to be able to reach people the way he did, and demystify the often stuffy and elite world of art history,” Mary shared how her passion grew from there.
She also shared with us, what she would usually do if she thought she has lost faith in her art. ‘The Da Vinci Code’ movie. “The fiery rage it sparks within pushes me to go on. Nothing like pure hatred to fuel creativity,” she said.
#5 “If Its Got Rich People Frollicing Outdoors Then Its Rococo”
#6 “If She’s Blonde And Has This Exact Face, It’s A Botticelli”
#7 “If There’s At Least One Person Looking To The Camera Like They’re On The Office, It’s Diego Velázquez”
#8 “If It Looks Like A Nightmare You Once Had About Being Stranded In The Desert Then Its Surrealism”
#9 “If It Looks Like A Tupperware Drawer, Then It’s Cubism”
#10 “If It’s Got Palpable Female Rage And/Or Vengeance – It’s An Artemisia”
#11 “If It Looks Like Angsty Male Ego, Then It’s German Romanticism”
#12 “If It Looks Like An Amateur Theatre Production, Then Its Neo-Classical”
#13 “If It’s Got Ugly Babies, It’s Medieval”
#14 “If It Looks Like A Scene From Madaline, It’s A Jean Dufy”
#15 “If It Looks Like … It’s An O’keeffe”
#16 “If It Looks Like A Cottagecore Pinup Girl, Then Its Art Nouveau”
#17 “If It’s Got More Flesh Than A Nudist Beach – It’s A Rubens”
#18 “If Its Unfinished, It’s Probably A Leonardo”
#19 “If It Looks Like A Really Satisfying Game Of Tetris It’s A Mondrian”
#20 “It Looks Like A School Nativity Play Where Everyone’s Made A Toga Out Of Different Colored Bedsheets It’s A Giotto”
#21 “If There’s A Room With Some Nice Furniture, A Window, And Some Women Just Going About Here Everyday Business, It’s A Vermeer”
#22 “If It Looks Like The Artistic Equivalent Of A Nicotine Addiction, Its An Egon Schiele”
#23 “If Its Got Sad Peasants It’s 19th Century Realism”
#24 “If The People Look Way Too Long, Then It’s Mannerism”
#25 “If You’re Not Sure If It Is Art, Then Its Dada”
#26 “If It’s Got A Happy Presence, It’s A Dutch Genre Painting”
#27 “If It’s Got Cute Babies, It’s Baroque”
#28 “If It Looks Like A Low Res Jpeg Blown Up Its Pointillism”
#29 “If Its Homoerotic And Painted On A Wall Or Ceiling, Then Its High Renaissance”
#30 “If It’s Just Got Nice Trees, It’s A Claude Lorrain”