Researching A Work Of Art--
A guide to beginning research in the History of Art. This guide is most useful if you already have a specific work of art to be researched.
Where to begin...
It is often most useful to begin your research by looking a the major Art History survey texts. One or more of the following print sources may be used in your class and they provide a great resource for placing your work in the broader art historical context and often provide a brief bibliography in your chosen field.
Gardner, Helen. Gardner's Art Through The Ages,11th ed. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt College Publishers, 2001. Location: FAL Reference N5300 .G25 2001
Janson, H.W. and Anthony F. Janson. History of Art, 6th ed. London: Thames and Hudson, 2001. Location: FAL Oversize Stacks N5300 .J3 2001b
Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History, 2nd ed. New York: Prentice-Hall, 2002. Location: FAL Oversize Stacks N5300 .S923 2002 (vols 1 & 2)
Once you have a basic understanding of your work of art you will want to search for imformation about the work of art/artist on one or more of the art databases provided by the Fine Arts Library. These databases provide access to journals and journal articles on a variety of subjects in the art world. Descriptions of each of the databases, organized by art historical period, are found below. Links to most of the databases are found in the top, right corner of this guide. Otherwise, the titles will be hotlinked.
Grove Art Online: Similar to a survey text, the Grove Art Online provides encyclopedia style information on most topics and artists relevant to the art world. This is not a place to go to find specific articles, but rather general information about your work of art that might point you in a direction for your later research.
(BHA) Bibliography of the History of Art [?]:
This database covers European and American art from late antiquity to the present.
Sample simple search: duccio
Sample advanced search:
|Keyword: duccio||AND Keyword: maesta||Refine: siena|
Index of Christian Art:
This database covers wetern medieval art and is primarily used for studies in iconography.
Simple Search: (all fields)
KEYWORD saint denis
II. Ancient and Medieval
This site contains information relevant to the ancient world including access to primary and secondary texts, site plans, digital images and maps. This site is relatively easy to search and provides instructions and help in doing so.
Dyabola is a rather complicated index to search but well worth it for those interested in ancient and medieval art. For comprehensive instructions on it see Guide to Searching Dyabola
Covers Europe, the Middle East and North Africa in the period 400-1500.
Enter Databases: IMB-English, All Index Terms: abbeys, Subject: france, Century: 11
III. Renaissance to Modern
Art Index [*]:
Covers art history from from the ancint to the present but particularly strong in renessaince to modern art.
Choose: Art Full Text, Art Retro
Basic Search: raphael and (rome or papacy)
ArtBibliographies Modern [*]:
Provides journal articles, books, essays, catalogs, dissertations, and exhibition reviews on all forms of modern art.
Search (keyword):painting and dali and surrealis*
IV. American and Contemporary
America History and Life: This database includes information on the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present.
|Time Period:||1800H (Use Browse List)|
Smithsonian Institution Archives & Inventories: Contains the Inventory of American Painting and Sculpture providing information on over 335,000 American artworks in public and private collections worldwide.
*Many of the databases listed can be used for more than one time period. Read the description of each to see if it matches your categories.
These are the web-based image banks in which to search for the works of art that are available in digital format. Thus, the search is most productive by artist.
Use the Bridgeman Art Image Collection, to search click on Search and enter either an artist, a work of art, or a keyword describing your work.
-A web resource guide for classical studies.
-A website for medieval studies.
-Up-to date information on contemporary artists, galleries, exhibitions, and future shows.
-Has over 4 million unedited public auction sales results compiled from hundreds of participating auction houses worldwide.
Your final step will be to search the online catalog for the journals that you have found and for monographs on your artist. If you are unfamiliar with searching VIRGO click on the link for comprehensive instructions on how to do so.
Compiled by Jennifer Parker
Contact the Librarian: Lucie Stylianopoulos | 924.6604 | firstname.lastname@example.org