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Dictionary of Art Historian Sources : Background Reading

For researchers creating entries for the Dictionary of Art Historians at Duke University. All proprietary material is liked to the Duke University catalog.

Dictionary of Art Historians Bibliography - This is a constantly updated list of art historiography.

Secrets to the Discipline

Key Writers on Art (vols 1 & 2)

1. Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century

2. The twentieth century

Oxford Bibliographies



Art History: It's Use and Abuse

Online access


Encyclopedia of World Art

Online access (

Graduate sources

Key Writers on Art (vols 1 & 2)

  • All graduate students need to know context and thinkers about art.  There's not enough time to read the original for all authors:  Hegel, Morelli, Plotinus (vol. 1), Michael Fried, Clive Bell, Wittgenstein.  These essays are all written by major scholars.  They are stand-alone essays worthy of citing in themselves but mostly they're the kind of background information graduate students need to be familiar with.

Oxford Bibliographies

  • Scholarly recommendations for all fields of scholarship.  Each entry selected (and accompanying commentary) by a noted scholar on the subject.  Kristine Stiles, among others.  Search by subject, keyword.  A serious foundation to a subjects close and far afield.

Art History: It's Use and Abuse

  • What senior graduate students used to tell incoming graduate students (often over a beer).  It's too bad that this book was written before internet sources, but in some ways more valuable--the recent stuff is more findable.

Encyclopedia of World Art

  • Old sources in art history still have some validity, though not universally.  This was the original scholarly encyclopedia for art.  Instead of more recent small-entry types (i.e., Dictionary of Art), this encyclopdia is written in essay form.  Rudolf Wittkower on baroque architecture.  Richard Krautheimer on early Christian monuments.  Luigi Salerno on art historiography.  Half of each entry is bibliography.  No reference work has been or ever was again as sophisticated.  Largely discounted by the hoy paloy as "too old."