Subject Guide to Online Art Resources

Contents for Art Resources


Good Starting Places: Reference Books

Reference books are a good place to start research. They can help you find background information, choose topics, and understand concepts and terminology. To access online resources from off campus you will need a your My Chemeketa user name and password; host provider students may obtain a login from the instructor or librarian.

Encyclopedias & Handbooks 

Specialized encyclopedias, which cover a single subject area, have longer and more detailed treatments of subjects than either dictionaries or general encyclopedias.

Arts and Humanities Through the Eras [online only]
Arranged chronologically from antiquity to 1800, helps to relate art and the various disciplines of the humanities to each other, as well as to history and culture.
A companion to art theory [online only]
Theories of art explained in chronological order.
Oxford companion to the photograph [online only]
Technical and historical information, "photography as social and artistic practice," and over 800 biographical entries.
Oxford companion to Western art [R 709 Ox2]
Best for named artists and for concise overviews of styles, etc. Online and print editions.



These dictionaries define specialized terms, identify important figures and concepts, and explain symbols.

The Oxford dictionary of art and artists [online only]
The Concise Oxford dictionary of art terms [online only]
Succinct explanations of over 1,800 terms.
Dictionary of architecture and landscape architecture [online only
"Architects, terms, periods, and styles, covering all periods of Western architectural history." Includes landscape terms.
Dictionary of modern design [online only]
Covers the past 150 years of international design.
A Dictionary of twentieth-century art [online only]
"Broad coverage of painting, sculpture, and graphic art encompasses all the major movements and styles of the twentieth-century, and includes entries on art schools, galleries, exhibitions, prizes, terms, techniques, collectors, critics, dealers and patrons."
The Hutchinson dictionary of symbols in art [online only]
A concise dictionary of symbols.
Medieval Art: A Topical Dictionary [online only]
Hundreds of themes and scenes in the art of the Middle Ages, described.
The Oxford dictionary of American art and artists
A "biographical and critical guide to American art from colonial times to contemporary postmodernism," in 945 entries.

Use the Library Search to look for more specialized dictionaries online. Type a word or phrase describing the subject, followed by "dictionary", for example,
          Asperger's dictionary
Limit your result to electronic books by selecting the eBooks resource type under Refine My Results.

Finding more electronic books 

Use the Library Search to find books. Limit your search to electronic books by selecting the eBooks resource type under Refine My Results. Chemeketa E-books will show as having Online access, with a green disc indicator. To access these books from off campus you will need your My Chemeketa user name and password.


Finding Articles on Your Subject

All the electronic databases listed in this section may be accessed by going to the library's Database Page. If you are accessing the databases from a location other than Chemeketa Community College, remember to click the link marked, "Off-campus users."

Journal Article Databases 

These tools index and/or provide full text access to articles in magazines, newspapers, and scholarly or professional journals.

JSTOR More information about this database
JSTOR is a digital archive of journal articles. You may find it helpful to click on Advanced Search. Check off Article under Item Type; this will eliminate book reviews from your search results.
picture of JSTOR advanced screen
Academic OneFile [Gale] More information about this database
A source that includes art.

You may need to use some special techniques in Gale Academic OneFile:

You may need to combine multiple search terms to find articles on your topic. The Gale Advanced Search screen has find a form for entering multiple terms.

picture of Gale Advanced Search screen

TIP: When using keywords, try truncating: theor* finds theory, theories, theoretical, etc. (* is the truncation character for Gale).

If you find an article that meets your needs, look at its description for additional terms you can use to search.

Search Suggestions 

Here are some words to search with in combination, using those that apply to your work of art. Your textbook may suggest others.

Media, techniques, etc. Time period or style Miscellaneous
painting Byzantine church*
sculpture Carolingian cathedral*
fresco* Gothic sarcophagus
mosaic* Merovingian altar*
illumination Ottonian chapel
architecture Romanesque exhibition
earthworks Fauv* France, Italy, etc.
engraving Futurism (art), Impressionism, German expressionism, etc. Flemish, Roman, etc.


Image Databases

ARTstor "is a digital library of nearly one million images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences with a set of tools to view, present, and manage images for research and pedagogical purposes."

Using ARTstor Image Database has handouts and video tutorials on using ARTstor.

Britannica ImageQuest is a very large database with high quality images of all subject matter, including art. Images have been cleared for educational use.

CAMIO, Catalog of Art Museum Images Online, has high-quality images from art museum collections. contains approximately "95,000 art images—photographs, paintings, sculpture, decorative and utilitarian objects, prints, drawings and watercolors, jewelry and costumes, textiles and architecture—plus audio, video and mixed media."

The images in CAMIO have been cleared for educational use with the rights holders.

The search results page shows a thumbnail image next to each description. Click on the title of the work to see the complete description. To see the full-size image, click on "View online" under Access in the Description area.

Special Guides


Internet Sites


Search architecture sites with our customized search tool, or try the site below.


The Great Buildings Collection -
Site which "documents hundreds of buildings and leading architects with 3D models, photographic images ... commentaries, bibliographies, and web links, for famous designers and structures of all kinds. " Searchable by building name, architect, location, and building type.

Visual Art 

Search art sites with our customized search tool, or browse the descriptions below.


Ad*Access -
Browse or search more than 7,000 advertisements that appeared in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines from 1911 through 1955. The Timeline feature provides historical context for advertisements.
Artcyclopedia: Where the World Finds Great Art -
A great guide to art sites on the Web. You can search or browse by movement, medium, subject, nation, artist name, or women artists.
Artlex Dictionary of Visual Art -
Online dictionary of visual art terms.
Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850 - 1920 -
Search or browse by category more than 9,000 advertisements. The Timeline feature provides historical context for ads.
Frida Kahlo & Contemporary Thoughts -
Biographical information, images of paintings, bibliography of Kahlo.
Guide to Researching Art History Using the Internet -
Links to sites related to the study of art history. Coordinated with the chapters from Gardner's Art through the Ages.
Georgia O'Keeffe-
Includes biographical and factual information on O'Keeffe, 16 color paintings.
National Gallery of Art-the collection-
Provides a tour of the National Gallery including images. Searchable by artist or title. Guías sobre arte de la Galeria Nacional de los Estados Unidos.
Smithsonian American Art Museum-
The collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum can be searched by a variety of criteria. Search results produce a small review image with accompanying identification (title, artist, size, medium, and collection information). Larger, high-resolution images can be called from the review images. Only a portion of the museum's holdings are available online. The site also includes databases and e-mail reference help on American art.
World Wide Arts Resources-
"The largest gateway to the arts in the world."


Additional Sources, Including Print

Printed reference books for art history at Chemeketa's library

The library subscribes to the following periodicals in printed form:

  • American Artist
  • Architectural Digest
  • Art Bulletin
  • Art in America
  • Art Journal
  • Artforum Artnews
  • Artsnews

Finding other books and and audiovisual materials 

Use the Library Search to find books. Limit your search to books by selecting the Books resource type under Refine My Results. Chemeketa books will show as Available, with a green disc indicator, followed by the location and call number.

You may have to do several searches to find books that might be pertinent to your subject.

Books not owned by Chemeketa may be requested through Summit or via interlibrary loan.


Chemeketa students registered for credit may request Summit books from other Orbis Cascade Alliance libraries. The Orbis Cascade Alliance is made up of 37 member libraries in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Authorized users have access to all of the material in the Chemeketa Community College library, plus about 28 million items in Summit.

To comment or request help, please e-mail Reference or call 503.399.5231.

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Updated: 16 December 2014