Art and Art History

Find library resources on Art and Art History

Subject Guides

These Subject Guides will be retired in December. You can start using the new Art and Art History guide now. This page will no longer be updated. 

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Reference databases


Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms
Oxford Dictionary of Art
The Grove Encyclopedia of Materials and Techniques in Art


Arts and Humanities Through the Eras
Contemporary Fashion

Print reference

Encyclopedia of World Art (Ref 703 En19) 17 Vols. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959-1987

Facts on File Encyclopedia of Art (Ref 703 G748) New York: Facts on File, 2005

From Abacus to Zeus:  A Handbook of Art History (Ref 703 P611a) New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2004

Language of Art from A - Z (Ref 703 L139) Oregon: York Books, 1997

Oxford Companion to Art (Ref 703 Ox2) Oxford, Clarendon P., 1970

Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Art (Ref 709.04 Ox2) New York: Oxford University Press, 1981

Styles, schools and movements :the essential encyclopaedic guide to modern art (Ref 709.04 D399s) London, Thames & Hudson, 2010

In the library

Search Albert, the SMC Library's online catalog, for books, videos, DVDs, sound recordings, and online databases available at SMC. Physical art books are located in 2nd floor stack and 3rd floor Oversize. Browse in call number 700 - 779 or Search Albert using the following subject headings or keywords:

Art History

Art & Art Theory

Special collections

Barbour-Rodriguez Collection

Maxwell-Hoffman Art Book Collection

Ritamarie Sustek Art Research Collection

Rusnak-Cassell Women Artists Archive

Therese Annette Schoofs Asian Art Collection

Interlibrary loan

To find journal, magazine, or newspaper articles related to art, art history, and architecture, the following article databases are recommended:

JSTOR. Provides image and full-text online access to back issues of selected scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences. Coverage varies by journal title, generally to within a few years of current publication.

Art Source covers a broad range of related subjects, from fine, decorative and commercial art, to various areas of architecture and architectural design. Providing over 600 full-text journals, more than 220 full-text books, and a collection of over 63,0000 images, it is designed for use by a diverse audience, including art scholars, artists, designers, students and general researchers.

ARTbibliographies Modern. Provides full abstracts of journal articles, books, essays, exhibition catalogs, PhD dissertations, and exhibition reviews on all forms of modern and contemporary art, with more than 13,000 new entries being added each year. Full coverage begins in 1974 when the first volume was digitised, but entries date back to the late 1960s.

Arts & Humanities Citation Index. A citation database with coverage for the arts and humanities, from 1980 to the present.

Bibliography of the History of Art. The Getty provides access to the Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA) and to the Répertoire de la litterature de l'art (RILA) for no charge on its Web site. The databases, searchable together, cover material published between 1975 and 2007. International Bibliography of Art is the successor to the Bibliography of the History of Art.

Other inter-disciplinary databases

OmniFile FT. Multi-disciplinary database providing the complete content from six of Wilson's full-text databases: Education Full Text, General Science Full Text, Humanities Full Text, Readers' Guide Full Text, Social Sciences Full Text, and Wilson Business Full Text.

Academic OneFile indexes nearly 13,000 academic journals, magazines, newspapers, and reference sources, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals and more than 5,000 in full-text (HTML and PDF). Coverage is multidisciplinary, including the physical sciences, technology, medicine, social sciences, arts, theology, literature, and other subjects

Project MUSE. Full-text access to journals published by the Johns Hopkins University Press and other presses. Disciplines covered are humanities, social sciences, and mathematics, literature and criticism, history, visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, and others.

Anthropology Plus combines Anthropological Literature from Harvard University and the Anthropological Index, Royal Anthropological Institute from the UK. Anthropology Plus provides worldwide indexing of journal articles, reports, commentaries, edited works, and obituaries in the fields of social, cultural, physical, biological, and linguistic anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, folklore, material culture, and interdisciplinary studies. The index offers coverage of all core periodicals in the field in addition to local and lesser-known journals. Coverage is from the late 19th century to the present.

AnthroSource. Current issues of American Anthropological Association's journals and bulletins as well as archived issues of all the AAA's journals, newsletters and bulletins. Journal issues generally appear online prior to distribution in print.

Use Dissertations and Theses (Proquest) to search for doctoral dissertations or Masters-level theses on your topic.

Looking for a specific journals/periodicals? Search by title, ISSN, or abbreviation to see if SMC has access to a specific periodical title.

Journals Finder

Art Periodical Reading Room


Oxford Art Online

Biography in Context (Gale)

Biography Reference Bank (EBSCO)

Art Now: The New Directory to 136 International Contemporary Artists. (Ref 709.22 G912)

Contemporary Artists.
(Ref 709.22 Em11b) 5th ed. Detroit: St. James, 2002.

Contemporary Photographers.
(Ref 770.922 W168a) Detroit: St. James, 1995.

Contemporary Women Artists.
(Ref 709.22 H559) Farmington Hills, MI: St. James, 1999.

Dictionary of Contemporary American Artists.
(Ref 700.92 C912a) 6th ed. New York: St. Martin, 1994.

Dictionary of Women Artist. (Ref 709.22 G858)

Great Women Masters of Art. (Ref 709.22 V689)

Mantle Fielding's Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors and Engravers. (Ref 709.22 F460) 2nd ed. Poughkeepsie, NY: Apollo, 1983.

North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century.
(Ref 709.22 H367) New York: Garland, 1995.

St. James Guide to Hispanic Artists: Profiles of Latino and Latin American Artists.
(Ref 704.0368 R448) Detroit: St. James, 2002.

Who's Who in American Art. (older eds)
(Ref 927 W620) New York: Bowker. Biennial.

Women Artists's of Color. (Ref 709.22 F249)

If you need high quality digital images of works of art, the following resources should be your first stop.

Art Museum Image Gallery

Oxford Art Online

Art Images for College Teaching (University of Michigan Library)

Art Images for College Teaching (AICT) is a royalty-free image exchange resource for the educational community. The AICT site is maintained and distributed under the general auspices of the Minneapolis College of Art & Design (MCAD).

Web Gallery of Art

The Web Gallery of Art is a virtual museum and searchable database of European painting and sculpture of the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassicism, Romanticism periods (1000-1850), currently containing over 29.000 reproductions. Picture commentaries, artist biographies are available. Guided tours, period music, catalogue, free postcard and other services are provided.

VADS Online Resource for Visual Arts 

VADS is the online resource for visual arts. It has provided services to the academic community for 12 years and has built up a considerable portfolio of visual art collections comprising over 100,000 images that are freely available and copyright cleared for use in learning, teaching and research in the UK.

Art Resource 

Art Resource, the world’s largest photo archive of fine art, offers a range of material from prehistoric times to the present.  We carry the works of almost every major museum in Europe, and function as the official rights and permissions representative for many institutions in the United States and abroad.

Archives of American Art

The world’s pre-eminent and most widely used research center dedicated to collecting, preserving, and providing access to primary sources that document the history of the visual arts in America. The images collection includes photographic images of artists, exhibition installations, manuscripts, and events.

Getty Research Portal- An online search platform providing global access to digitized art history texts in the public domain, including rare books and related literature, plus historical auction sales catalogs.

Google Art Project

Over 1000 artworks featured from 17 museums, including Palace of Versailles in France, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Virtual gallery tours for 400 rooms using Google Street View technology. Each of the museums allowed one artwork to be photographed with extremely high-resolution "gigapixel" technology.

In the Library

Also, browse call numbers 709-759 (Art) and 779 (Photography) in the 2nd floor stacks and the 3rd floor oversize section of the Library for books that include reproductions.

Another idea for finding images online is to visit the website of the musuem or gallery that the original piece is housed. Many have been adding high-quality digital images of their collections to their websites. As always, be aware of copyright restrictions.

Saint Mary's College Art Museum - SMC

Bay Area Art Museums - From the Hearst Art Gallery at St. Mary's, a directory of museums within a 45 minute drive of the college.

Museum of Online Museums - contains links to online collections and exhibits, ranging from classical art to architecture.

Metropolitan Museum of Art collection online


National Gallery of Art

Rijksmuseum’s digitized collection

Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Asian and American artworks

Virtual libraries museums pages

Free art books

Art Catalogs from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Modern Art Books from The Guggenheim

Free Art Books From the Getty Museum

Archive of Digital Art (ADA) - Since its foundation in 1999, the Archive of Digital Art (formerly Database of Virtual Art) has become the most important scholarly online archive for media art.

Art Babble - A rt-based video content, including interviews with artists and curators, original documentaries and art installation videos.

Artcyclopedia - Art genres include fine art, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, folk art, architecture, and more.

Art History Resources (Christopher L. C. E. Witcombe) A collection of essays for overview of Western and non-Western art history.

Art and Architecture Thesaurus - An online dictionary and thesaurus of common art and architecture terms. From the Getty Museum.

Art and Artists Files in the Smithsonian Libraries Collection

Artsource - A thorough and well-organized index to art resources on the Internet. - The collection provides one of the largest collections of contemporary art available online. The collection comprises 26,000+ artworks by 5500+ artists from leading galleries, museums, private collections, foundations, and artist estates.

Getty Research Institute 
A comprehensive tool for Western art history research, provided by the Getty Research Institute.

Heibrunn Timeline of Art history (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Metropolitan Museum of Art -- Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History 
Timeline of Art History presents the Met’s collection via a chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of global art history.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Online Collections 
Outstanding online collections from the Met. Categories include: Islamic Art, Decorative Arts, American Painting & Sculpture, European Painting, the Costume Institute, Drawings & Prints, Africa, Oceania & the Americas, Egyptian Art, Musical Instruments, and others.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
SFMOMA maintains an internationally recognized collection of modern and contemporary art.

Smarthistory at Khan Academy An interactive art history web site with images and movies.

Smithsonian Museum of American Art 
Excellent collection of material about art and artists in the US from multiple national collections housed at the Smithsonian Institute.

Tate Collection 
Beautifully designed online library of the Tate's collections covering art from 1500 to contemporary works. Searchable by artist name, genres, subject terms, with excellent images and descriptions.

UbuWeb Film & video UbuWeb is a completely independent resource dedicated to all strains of the avant-garde, ethnopoetics, and outsider arts. All materials on UbuWeb are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only.

Visual Collections (Luna insight) Visual Collections includes more than 300,000 images from over 50 collections, including museums, universities and private collections throughout the world sponsored by David Rumsey and Cartography Associates.

Copyright and fair use

Copyright and fair use (SMC Library)

Code of best practices in fair use for academic and research libraries (2012)

Code of best practices in fair use for the visual arts (2015)

Public domain

Comprises copyright-free works: anyone can use them in any way and for any purpose. Any faithful photographic reproduction of a two dimensional art is public domain. Proper attribution to the author or source of a work, even if it is in the public domain, is still required in order to comply with relevant policies. The publication date of an artwork (as opposed to simply when the work was created or when the artist died) is used to determine its public domain status. An artwork is not published by being exhibited, and also neither by being created or sold, one needs to know when reproductions of the artwork (photos, postcards, lithographs, casts of statues, and so on) were first published. That constitutes publication of the artwork, and from then on, the work is subject to all the rules for published works.

Copyright and images of art works held in museums. According to a landmark 1999 federal district court ruling, The Bridgeman Art Library, Ltd., Plaintiff v. Corel Corporation, “exact reproductions of public domain artworks are not protected by copyright.” In other words, “slavish” photos of public domain paintings, which are faithful reproductions of the originals, cannot be copyrighted and are therefore in the public domain.

Wikipedia on Public Domain

Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States(Hirsle chart)

The public domain : how to find & use copyright-free writings, music, art & more(Nolo)

Art and other images (Columbia Copyright Advisory Office)

Public Domain Resources(Columbia Copyright Advisory Office)

Copyright and Art Issues (Christine L. Sundt)

Finding Public Domain & Creative Commons Media (Harvard Law School Library)

Copyright Law: Publishing Art and the Public Domain (Art Institute of Chicago)

Unpublished works

Copyright and unpublished materials (Society of American Archivists)

Copyright and unpublished materials (University of Wyoming American Heritage Center)

Scholarly vs. popular sources

Scholarly and Popular Sources (Carnegie Vincent video)

Popular vs. scholarly sources (Hartness Library video)

Scholarly vs Popular Sources (URILibraries video)

Research on the Open Web (SMC Library video)

Credible Websites? (Hartness Library video)

Scholarly research (Christopher Garofalo)

Is it scholarly? (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Scholarly vs. popular articles

Olin & Uris Libraries, Cornell University video

Kimbel Library video

Georgia State University Library

Cornell University Library

University of Arizona Libraries

Sojourner Truth Library (SUNY New Paltz)

Citation tools

The study of Art History traditionally uses the Chicago Manual of Style (notes-bibliography system) as the preferred citation style

How to cite my sources

Chicago Manual of Style, Citation Quick Guide

Chicago Manual of Style, 2010. (Ref 808.02 Un3e). Also available Online

Writing resources

Sylvan Barnet's A Short Guide to Writing About Art (701.18 B264a)

Henry Sayre's Writing About Art (701.18 Sa99a)

Writing assistance

Having trouble putting it all together? The SMC Center for Writing Across the Curriculum (or, "The Writing Center") offers peer-to-peer advising sessions for both undergraduate and graduate students. You can call or stop by to make an appointment, or can also drop in and do a session immediately, if an adviser is available. See their website for more information