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Art History: Overview


This guide is designed to steer Art History students to specific resources. If you are conducting research in a different concentration, the Library offers other guides that may be more appropriate. Library staff are available to meet with you one-on-one for additional assistance.

Find the Right Resource

Reference Sources (Encyclopedias, Dictionaries):

  • Basic overview of subject 
  • Quick lookup of factual information
  • Recommendations for more in-depth information  


  • In-depth research 
  • Analysis of an issue's context
  • Historical information  


  • Narrowly focused analysis
  • Detailed findings from individual studies
  • Current information on a topic

The Language of Art

Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) Glossary of Terms - whether you are looking for good subject terms for keyword searches or wish to upgrade your art vocabulary in general, this MOMA source is an excellent place to start.

The Getty Research Institute - this brings art terminology to a higher research plane. The Getty Vocabularies contain structured terminology for art, architecture, decorative arts, archival materials, visual surrogates, conservation, and bibliographic materials. Compliant with international standards, they provide authoritative information for catalogers, researchers, and data providers.



Libyan Sibyl (detail) after Michelangelo, Detroit Institute of Arts.


College for Creative Studies website