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Art Research Guide  

Last Updated: Jun 22, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Reference materials help you find background information on a topic, and are a great place to begin your research.

Books & Videos

Books about art will have call numbers that begin with N, NA, NB, NC, ND, NE, NK and NX. This video will help you find books on the shelves that are organized by the Library of Congress classification system.


These databases help you find articles from newspapers, magazines, professional and trade publications, and scholarly journals.

  • Academic Search Complete
    Academic Search Complete is a comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with more than 8,500 full-text periodicals, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals.
  • ProQuest Research Library: The Arts
    This subset of the ProQuest Research Library covers music, theatre, film, TV, dance, architecture, art and design.
  • JSTOR Arts & Sciences
    JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a digital archive of hundreds of academic journals and other scholarly content.
  • Google Scholar
    Search for scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.
  • How do I find articles using library databases?  Icon
  • View a complete list of databases


Websites need to be evaluated to make sure that they are academically appropriate. Proceed with caution!

  • Internet Public Library: Fine Arts
    This collection of websites, selected by librarians, covers architecture, collectors and collecting, craft and folk art, graphic arts and design, performing arts, photography and film, and visual arts.
  • Smarthistory
    " is a free, not-for-profit, multi-media web-book designed as a dynamic enhancement (or even substitute) for the traditional art history textbook."
  • Google Art Project
    "The Art Project is a collaboration between Google and 151 acclaimed art partners from across 40 countries. Users can explore a wide range of artworks at brushstroke level detail, take a virtual tour of a museum and even build their own collections to share."
  • Web Gallery of Art
    With this site you can search for art by author (artist), timeline, school, form, type, location, title, or by text associated with the art (technique, size, date). This site provides beautiful pictures of the artwork, of which you can zoom in to see the details and change the background color of the page in case the artwork has light edges. Along with information about the physical piece of art, the site provides some information about
  • ArtCyclopedia
    The Artcyclopedia editors have compiled a comprehensive index of every artist represented at hundreds of museum sites, image archives, and other online resources. Artcyclopedia only provides references to sites on the World Wide Web where artists' works can be viewed online and the vast majority of the artists in their database specialize in painting and sculpture. They have a searchable index of over 1200 arts sites, and offer more than 32,000 links to an estimated 100,000 works by 7,500 renowned artists. A great resource for researching particular artists.
  • World Art Treasures
    The Jacques-Edouard Berger Fondation offers World Art Treasures, an impressive site for learning about art and artists through the ages. The site offers lectures and itineraries of the cultural tours, an Artists Slide Library, slides by Country, Region, and City, a Periods Slide Library, Essays, an Audio Section to listen to the different lectures, a Zoom function, and "Puzzle," a chance to click on a piece of a master work and drag to correct place. Lectures and itineraries include Tell el Amarna, Capital of the Disk, Roman Portraits from Egypt, The enchanted gardens of the Renaissance, Sandro Botticelli, Caravaggio: The Night Prince, Johannes Vermeer, and more. There is also an interactive timeline.
  • Digital Archive of Art: Online Images from Boston College
    This site provides images of paintings and sculptures by century and style. The site provides some artists for each style of which you can look at some of their artwork.
  • Museum of Modern Art
    You can search the MoMA by keyword, artist, work, and decade. This site provides detailed information about the artworks in its collection, such as title, author, date, medium, dimensions, and other detailed information about the artwork.
  • How do I evaluate websites?  Icon

Sculpture of man in Rome

image from istockphoto

Course Guides

These guides are designed for a specific course.

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