Library 101: Spotlight on… Art

Posted on: Thursday, April 14th, 2016 by Janet Kirby

Kelly Library has many resources available to students researching, or who simply have an interest in, art. A good place to start is the Dictionary of Art (REF N31 .D5 1996) published by Grove. Written by 6,700 experts from around the world, the Dictionary of Art has information on over 4,500 art related topics. While browsing in the reference collection you can take a look at many other art reference books located nearby, including the Atlas of World Art (REF G1046 .E1 O9 2004), the Encyclopedia of World Art (REF N31 .E533), and the Pelican History of Art series (do a title search in the catalog for individual volumes). The top floor of the library houses many art-related titles that are available to check out. The call numbers all start with N, with subdivisions for painting (ND), sculpture (NB), and graphic arts (NC). Titles can be found by browsing these areas, or by searching the OPAC (

There are several online databases that focus specifically on art. Oxford Art Online features the online edition of the previously mentioned Dictionary of Art from Grove, along with the Oxford Companion to Western Art, the Benezit Dictionary of Artists, and several other titles. The ARTstor database contains over 1.5 million high quality images from paintings and drawings, to photography and architecture, as well as decorative arts and design. The images can be browsed, searched, stored in personal image libraries, and shared in PowerPoint, Keynote, and ARTstor’s offline image viewer.  These images can be used to enhance papers on many topics other than art.

Several other databases, while not solely focused on art, contain many useful art resources. JSTOR, Academic Search Complete, and Humanities International Complete all contain full text access to journal articles in the arts. Credo Reference, Oxford Reference Online, and Gale Virtual Reference Library contain online reference titles related to art. Biographical information can be found in Biography in Context.

The library also has DVDs covering many art topics. These titles can be found by browsing the DVD shelves, again in the call numbers starting with N, or by doing an advanced search in the online catalog and limiting to the desired material type and location.   One of the great DVD series we have is Art 21: art in the 21st century produced by PBS.  We have seasons 1-7.  (DVD N6512 .A78)

To see more art related resources take a look at our art subject resource page ( > Subject Resources > Art). If you need assistance locating any of the items or searching the catalog or databases please ask for help from a librarian or circulation staff member.

Here are a few selected DVDs that might be of interest.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.  DVD N7349 .A5 A4 2012.  One of the most famous and successful artists in the world, Ai Weiwei has earned international acclaim as much for his provocative art work as for his political activism.

Chuck Close: a Portrait in Progress.  DVD ND1329 .C54 P67 1998.  Since 1969, when Chuck Close first exhibited his series of black-and-white portrait heads, his paintings have fascinated the public.

Maya Lin: a Strong Clear Vision.  DVD NA712 .M39 2003.  This Academy Award winner reveals the contentious origins of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and tells of the inspiring story of its creator, a 21-year-old Yale architecture student. 

Painters Painting: a Candid History of the New York Art Scene, 1940-1970.  DVD ND212.5 .A25 P3 2010.  A vibrant collective portrait of the legendary figures who powered the tumultuous post-war New York art scene.

!WAR. (!Women Art Revolution).  DVD N3354 .W37 2011.  An entertaining and revelatory “secret history” of Feminist Art. 

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