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History of Art & Design: Getting Started & Resources

This guide will help to research works in visual arts and design.


Although this guide attempts to cover various periods in art history, it mostly focuses on art and design of the 19th-21st centuries.

 A variety of links to resources were carefully selected to support research in the arts. They provide easy access to books, library catalogs and databases, electronic texts and images, museum and archival collections, and  basic reference resources as well as various sites specializing in particular areas of fine arts and design. They will help with the analysis of works in various media, writing about the works and properly citing resources. Podcasts and video recordings will provide information on time periods, trends, artists, or individual works. Online dictionaries and translators will help with non-English materials.

Please use a form on the page "Writing About Art" to submit your suggestions and comments. If you need help do not hesitate to contact a librarian.

Research Resources


  • Encyclopedias, specialized dictionaries and histories will help to find information on individual artists or designers, and to put a particular work of art in historical and cultural context.
  • Museums and exhibition catalogues can be used to find images of works of art and more specific information (dimensions, dates, materials, or provenance).
  • Monographs and catalogues raisonnee are more focused on a single subject or works of a singe artist.
  • Publications on iconography and dictionaries of subjects and symbols will help to interpret the content of images. 
  • Writings on art appreciation will provide numerous examples of analysis of works of art.
  • Guides and dictionaries of terms will familiarize you with the language used in books, museums or during your class discussions to analyze works of art. 

Read more on sub-page "Books"

Periodicals: Journals, magazines and newspapers can provide more narrowly focused and up-to-date information on particular artists, exhibitions, or a single work of art and design. They can also help to find exhibition reviews. Specialized databases will provide access to digitized articles and images. Read more about finding information in journals and databases in "Articles" and "Finding Images" in this guide and in other tutorials on the library website.

Web Resources: Numerous websites will help to locate information on artists, exhibitions, auction houses, museum, archive and library collections. You can also find images, video recordings and podcasts discussing art and design. You can find artists' and designers' personal websites, reference resources and information portals. Be sure to evaluate content of websites - you need to be certain that information has been posted by authorized people with credentials in the field. Our guide lists some resources selected by our librarians.

Read more on sub-page "Web Resources"

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