Introduction to Art History, Prehistoric to 726 CE (ART204)



picture of cave painting detail
© Photo Researchers; courtesy of Britannica ImageQuest


Images

ARTstor
Large, searchable database of art images. Use the Advanced search to limit results by date or other criteria. Double-click on an thumbnail to see a larger image; click on the i button under the image to show the data about it.
   BulletUsing ARTstor Image Database has handouts and video tutorials on using ARTstor.
CAMIO (Catalog of Art Museum Images Online)
The results list shows a thumbnail image of each piece, with other information in columns. Click on a column header, e.g., date, to sort. Clicking on the title of the work brings up the full image and record.
Image Quest
Easy to use search of a library of over one million images.

Reference Sources in Chemeketa's Library

Where to Start Your Research

Grove's Dictionary of art is a large encyclopedia which gives excellent background for most topics in art. You can use the printed version in the reference shelves [call number REF 703 D56] or go to Oxford Art Online. Oxford Art Online is a site offering the complete contents of the 34-volume Grove Dictionary of Art along with Oxford art reference resources.

Oxford Art Online can be found on the library's database pages.

Printed reference books must be used in the library. Some are available online.

Dictionaries

Specialized dictionaries can help, not only with technical terms, but also with the interpretation of symbols. Even more specialized dictionaries deal with Classical mythology.

General art reference 

The Oxford Dictionary of Art [REF 703.21 Ox2] and online
Contains many biographical entries as well as some technical terms.
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms [R 703.21 Ox2]
Contains many biographical entries as well as some technical terms.
Illustrated Dictionary of Art Terms: A Handbook for the Artist and Art Lover [R 703.21 R33]
Contains more technical terms than the Oxford dictionary, with illustrations.
Medieval Art: A Topical Dictionary
Contains entries on early Christian and Byzantine art.

Symbols in art 

Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art [R 704.94 H14]
Has few illustrations, but contains the most information about traditional scenes such as the Deposition.
The Dictionary of Symbols in Western Art [R 704.946 C23]
Gives treatment not only of visual symbols, e.g., dice, but of persons and scenes frequently pictured, such as Gabriel. Coverage is selective.
Illustrated Dictionary of Symbols in Eastern and Western Art [R 704.946 H14]
This is actually a visual dictionary, divided into thematic chapters, e.g., "Animals," with line drawings of each subject glossing the text. There is also a chapter on collectives, e.g., The Four Prophets, and an index.
The Dent Dictionary of Symbols in Christian Art [R 704.9482 Sp3]
Includes fewer personal names, but more scenes and symbols, than the The dictionary of symbols in Western art
The Hutchinson dictionary of symbols in art (online)
An online dictionary with an alphabetical contents list.
Oxford guide to classical mythology in the Arts, 1300-1990s [REF 700 R27]
A two volume guide to Classical subjects. Subjects are in BOLD CAPITAL letters. A short summary of the myth is followed by a paragraph marked Classical Sources, which tells which literary works of antiquity are the source of the myth.

Classical mythology 

There are dictionaries of classical mythology in the reference collection under the number 292. Some other, especially useful, sources are listed below.

*Oxford Guide to Classical Mythology in the Arts, 1300-1990s [REF 700 R27]
A two volume guide to Classical subjects. Subjects are in BOLD CAPITAL letters. A short summary of the myth is followed by a paragraph marked Classical Sources, which tells which literary works of antiquity are the source of the myth.
Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World
Covers from the eighth century BCE to the second century CE.
The concise Oxford Companion to Classical Literature
Plot summaries and character entries for many classical authors.
See also:
Perseus Collection Greek and Roman materials

Other Reference Books

This listing contains encyclopedias and handbooks which may be helpful.

Ancient Europe, 8000 B.C. to A.D. 1000: Encyclopedia of the Barbarian World (Online)
Covers the material culture of ancient European societies.
Arts and Humanities Through the Eras (Online)
Volumes 1 and 2 cover Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
*Dictionary of Art [R 703 D56]
Despite the name, this is a 34-volume encyclopedia. The index is in the last volume. Individual works are listed in the index under the artist's name (if known).
Encyclopedia of World Art [R 703 M17]
This encyclopedia includes individual works of art in the index (Vol. 17).
Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography [R 704.903 En1]
Articles on themes and situations expressed in art, e.g., Light, Grieving/Lamentation, Shepherds, etc.
Larousse Encyclopedia of Prehistoric and Ancient Art; Art and Mankind. [REF 709.01 H98]
Oxford Companion to Christian Art and Architecture [R 704.9482 M96]
A handbook explaining many themes and scenes
The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization (online)
Guide to aspects of the Greek and Roman world, including art.
The Oxford History of Classical Art [EF 709.38 Ox2 ]
Covers 8th century B.C. to the late Roman Empire.
[Janson's] History of Art [R 709 J22]
A history with numerous illustrations and a detailed index.
Oxford Companion to Western Art [R 709 Ox2]
Best for named artists and for concise overviews of styles, etc.

Finding Books in the Catalog

Use the library catalog to find books on your subject. You may combine words together with "AND" to make your search more specific. Books shown with the location "CCC General Collection" may be checked out for three weeks.

You can request books through the catalog to be sent from other libraries to Chemeketa. It's easy and free:

  • To search in other libraries in our local cooperative, pull down the menu that says "Chemeketa Community College Library" and change to "All libraries.".  picture of important point indicatorHow to request a book through CCRLS
  • Click the Summit button to pass your search through from the local catalog to the Summit catalog, a much larger one that lets you request books from colleges and universities in Oregon and Washington.  picture of important point indicatorHow to request in Summit
picture of catalog screen

Fig. 1. The catalog search

You may have to do several searches to find books that might be pertinent to your subject. Try the techniques shown in the table below.

Search Type Method Example
Keyword [time period or style] + "art" prehistoric AND art
Keyword [technique,medium, etc.] + [place name] painting AND Pompeii
Keyword "art," "architecture," etc. + [geographic adjective] architecture AND Roman
Keyword [place name] + "antiquities" Egypt AND antiquities
Subject Library of Congress subject heading (Clicking takes you to a site where you can find an appropriate heading.) Cave paintings
Art, Prehistoric

TIP: When using keywords, try truncating: paint* finds paint, paints, painting, painter, etc. (* is the truncation character for the catalog).

Journal Article Indexes

Academic OneFile, a Gale database, indexes articles in art journals and contains the full text of many. Access is available on the Database Page. If using databases from off campus, you will need your My Chemeketa user name and password.

You may want to try the Gale Powersearch instead. Access PowerSearch in the blue widget on the database page, or

You may need to combine multiple search terms to find articles on your topic. Checking off "Chemeketa Periodicals" and "Full text" is helpful, too.

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.

Art Index, a printed index to art journals, is shelved in the library's reference section under the number REF 050 Ar7.  picture of important point indicatorArt Index has coverage of earlier years than most Gale databases.

JSTOR is a searchable journal archive that is strong in art and the humanities. It is helpful to use the Advanced Search page. Access is available on the Database Page. If using databases from off campus, you will need your My Chemeketa user name and password. Help is available.

Internet Sites

Subject Guide to Online Art Resources - http://library.chemeketa.edu/information/virtual/art.php
Online reference books and Web sites that may be useful for the study of art.
Perseus Collection Greek and Roman Materials 
The Perseus Digital Library project at Tufts University covers the history, literature and culture of the Greco-Roman world. Use the search box to look for the full text of ancient literature by keywords: author, title, or subject/character. The default search is for texts in English, but Greek and Latin are available.

In addition to classical texts, Perseus has dictionaries and commentaries. Scroll through the list on the entry page to see what works are available.

Perseus also retrieves thumbnail images of Greek and Roman artifacts.

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

Address of this page: http://library.chemeketa.edu/instruction/handouts/ART204.php

Updated: 10 October 2013