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Art History: Getting Started

WELCOME Renaissance Cities, Civic Identity class (Huffman)


Rubenstein Riches

Duke's Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library has untold unique resources.  Because of the nature of its collections, its riches are not as discernable through the Duke catalog as other material.  In addition to doing a search limited to Rubenstein Library, email or query a special collections librarian for a consult on what may be of interest.  RUBENSTEIN SEARCH

Beginnings - Reference Sources

  • Getty Research Portal - Getty Research Institute's collection of digitized art history texts.
  • Humanities Commons (art history section) scholarly open-source materials for the humanities
  • Encyclopedia of World Art - (hardcopy) - older, but longer essays on art topics and issue, half of every volume is plates, may in color
  • Pelican History of Art series, Lilly Reference Room, N5300.P38  - the standard English-language history of art. Good beginning source, bibliography for more information
  • Encyclopedia of Aesthetics - Scholarly online source for overview of esthetic concepts and histories

Artists' Dictionaries (biographies of Artists)

  • Benezit Dictionary of Artists - All artists of all places and times
  •  Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon: die bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker. - In German and in print, but the most comprehensive biographical dictionary of artists.  Lilly Reference N40 .A63 1992

Specialized Reference

Keep in mind that specialized Dictionaries can answer many simple art questions.

Symbol Dictionaries

Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art by Hall, James. (Boulder : Westview Press, c2008.)Lilly Library Ready Reference N7560.H34 2008

Period Dictionaries - Classical

The Grove encyclopedia of classical art & architecture [electronic resource and book]

Decorative Arts

Grove encyclopedia of decorative arts  [electronic resource and book]

Visual Studies Libraran

Lee Sorensen's picture
Lee Sorensen
Box 90727
Lilly Library

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