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Interpreting Art

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Getting Started

  • Dictionary of Art
    Edited by Jane Turner, 1996, 34 vols.
  • For further encyclopedias please consult the encyclopedias tab on the art history subject guide on the Library’s homepage or ask for advice.
  • American National Biography
    Authoritative short biographies of "people who have influenced and shaped American history and culture." Biographies include portraits, references to authoritative book-length biographies and names of archives were applicable. Only deceased biographical subjects are included.
  • Current Biography Plus Illustrated
    Contains the full text and all the images of the 23,000 biographies and obituaries of artists, politicians, business people, journalists, actors, writers, sports figures, scientists, and other people prominent in the news that have appeared in Current Biography Yearbook since 1940 and a number of other biographical dictionaries. Includes links to obituaries as well as to books and articles by and about the subject.

Published biographies and autobiographies can be found in the library's catalog.

Biographies can be found with a subject search:  wright, frank lloyd
Autobiographies can be found with an author search:  wright, frank lloyd

Biographies and Autobiographies not owned by the Library can be found via WorldCat. The Borrow from another library link in the WorldCat records will generate an interlibrary loan form and the Library will loan the book from another library.

Literature Review

Peer-reviewed journal articles can be found through a number of online journal indexes to which the library subscribes. Search the library's catalog and/or WorldCat to find books on your topic.

  • Art Abstracts
    Indexes key international English-language arts publications. Includes periodicals, yearbooks, museum bulletins, competition and award notices, exhibition listings, interviews, film reviews and more.
  • ARTbibliographies Modern
    Covers all aspects of modern and contemporary art, traditional fine arts of painting, sculpture and drawing. The database's scope extends from artists and movements beginning with impressionism, in the late 19th century, up to recent works and trends in the late 20th century. It incorporates abstracts of journal articles, books, essays, and exhibition catalogs and reviews.
  • Bibliographie of the History of Art
    Indexes print and electronic journal articles, books, essays, conference proceedings and exhibition catalogues.
  • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals
    The single most important bibliographical research tool for research in architecture, urban design, historic preservation and urban planning history.
  • Art Index Retrospective
    Indexes international art journals published between 1929 and 1984. Art Index Retrospective includes references to reproductions of works of art that appear in indexed periodicals.
  • Catalog
    Books and book chapters in the Library's print collection are another source of critical literature on an artist's work. Books that are not owned by the Library can be found via WorldCat.
    Keyword search example: warhol AND "criticism and interpretation"
  • WorldCat
    A catalog of library holdings worldwide. WorldCat will indicate any local library holdings and also offers an inter-library loan request option. WorldCat uses the same Library of Congress subjects as the library's catalog.

For further indexes of scholarly journals please consult the Subject Guides page on the Library’s homepage or ask for advice.


  • Catalog
    The Library owns a large number of art books with excellent reproductions of art works. The complete oeuvre of an artist is sometimes available in a catalogue raisonne and can be found in the Library's catalog:
    Keyword search example: "catalogue* raisonne*" AND kandinsky

    The physical description field on the description tab in the Library's catalog identifies whether a book has illustrations: ill. stands for illustrated and col. ill. stands for colored illustrations.

    Example:  ill* AND kandinsky
  • ARTstor
    High quality images with detailed meta data about materials used, work types, repositories, and subjects. The Advanced Search interface has a search by creator option.
  • Grove Art Online
    Images of artists and their art can be found by clicking on the image tab. The image tab also has a number of links to external images. Most of these links go to art museum web sites.

Citing Your Sources

Make an appointment to meet with Jutta

I am happy to meet with you at any time, in person, by phone, or virtually via our chat service.

You can also email me directly.

 In my office in Falvey Library
 By phone
 Online via chat

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jseibert Jutta Seibert
Team Leader - Academic Integration
Falvey Library, Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova , PA , 19085
Room 228

Jutta Seibert is the subject librarian for Art History and is available for research consultations, instruction, curricular support & purchase requests.


Last Modified: Monday, December 10th, 2012