The resource itself comprises an animated video showing 90 fairly well-known painted portraits of women. The paintings span from the mid-12th century to the mid 20th century (a rather longer period than the '500 years' mentioned in the video title) and are largely drawn from the Western canon.
The video was nominated as Most Creative Video in the 2nd Annual YouTube Awards. The animation morphs one painting into the next, which has the effect of emphasising areas of similarly and difference between them. The video is just under three minutes in length and can be paused at any point to allow closer examination of a particular painting.
On its own, the resource provides a visual overview of the changing styles of portraiture since the mid-12th cenutry and could be used by teachers at all educational levels. The resource offers considerable potential for use in the classroom, for example as a prompt for discussing developments in the representation of idealised beauty, the use of brushwork, colour, tone and other aspects of form, together with developments in the representation of three-dimensional forms through modelling. Educators using the video may also wish to point out the bounded selection, perhaps encouraging comparisons with non-Western art.
The teaching and learning potential of the resource is greatly enhanced by provision of a list of the 90 featured paintings, accessed by clicking the 'Show More' button under the video display area. The list gives a small image showing a selected area of each work (the portrait featured in the video), accompanied by the artist's name, the work title and date. Further information about each artist can be gained by clicking on their name (offering a link to an external source). There is also a link to an additional list featuring large, high quality images of each work in full. These additional resources offer the potential for both in-class use and self-study by independent learners. The resource could also be used by educators in the context of online teaching and learning.
The supplementary list of full-size works offers acessibility advantages in that learners with visual impairment have the opportunity to magnify the images provided.
I have used the resource in an online tutorial with Level 1 UK university students, focusing on the ways in which deviation from mimesis might be achieved through colour, tone, composition etc. The video resource was very well received and I was able to use the additional web page resources to set students homework, tasking them with researching the link between form and context.
Using Google Chrome and a relatively fast broadband connection the video was a little slow to load initially but the quality was high.