Dr. Steven Zucker


About Dr. Steven Zucker

Steven is co-founder and executive director of Smarthistory. Previously, Steven was dean of art and history at Khan Academy. He was also chair of history of art and design at Pratt Institute where he strengthened enrollment and lead the renewal of curriculum across the Institute. Before that, he was dean of the School of Graduate Studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY and chair of their art history department. He has taught at The School of Visual Arts, Hunter College, and at The Museum of Modern Art. Dr. Zucker is a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has co-authored, with Dr. Beth Harris, numerous articles on the future of education and the future of museums. Dr. Zucker received his Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.


Vincent van Gogh, The Potato Eaters, 1885, oil on canvas, 82 x 114 cm (Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Vincent van Gogh Foundation).
What should a peasant painting smell like? Van Gogh has an opinion...

The Potato Eaters








Dish with copper-red glaze, Ming dynasty, porcelain with copper-red glaze; on the base, a six-character cobalt-oxide (blue reign mark in a double circle under colorless glaze, c. 1426-35, 4.6 x 22 cm (Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.: Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment and Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries, F2015.2a-b)
A red so rare, so impossible to make, the process was lost before the end of the Ming Dynasty.

A Ritual Ming dish




This painting blends deep piety with scientific observation. Both its architecture and figures were radically new.

Masaccio, Holy Trinity












Oil painting in Venice - glazes
Their island climate didn’t suit fresco, so the Venetians tried oils instead—these paints blend when wet.

Oil paint in Venice