Art History Resources on the Internet


Table of Contents

Art History Gateways

Art, Design, Architecture & Media Information Gateway; a service being developed to help locate useful, quality-assured information on the Internet in the following subject areas: Fine Art, Design, Architecture, Applied Arts, Media, Theory, Museum Sties, Professional Practice. ADAM is funded under the Electronic Libraries Programme of the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the UK Higher Education Funding Councils.” (Based on creators’ description). Still very much under construction.
Art History Research Centre
The AHRC is a tool to facilitate art historical and other arts research on the Internet. Includes:
A comprehensive collection of links to sites of interest to historians of Art and Architecture. The site can be very busy making it hard to reach and slow. Topics covered by the site include:
Gateway to Art History
Designed as a companion to Gardner's Art Through the Ages published by Harcourt Brace, this site offers an extensive collection of links to resources on the WWW. The organisation of the site reflects the broad chronological and thematic structure of the textbook it supports allowing for easy navigation. While links were obviously selected for their academic quality as well as their relevance to the text there is sadly no commentary on the sites included in this index. In many cases the "Gateway" provides multiple links to the same image collection according to the subject, for example much of the section the Twentieth Century consists of pointers to the sections of The WebMuseum.
The PartheNet
Combined Internet Resources for Students of Art History. Links organised by period, with a strong Western European focus.
Histoire de l'art - Art History - web Robert DEROME
An important reference site for Art History on the Web.  Includes:

Image Libraries

Note: While these sites offer a large number of images some are of variable quality and poorly documented.

Art and Architecture mainly from the Mediterranean Basin. This server offers access to over 16,000 images (NOT available elsewhere) all concerned in some way with the history of art and architecture. The main collections are:
A related service, Image Source, is available through the site and includes: an electronic edition the reference book, Essential Art History, by Paul Duro & Michael Greenhalgh, Art History tutorials (under construction), Texts for Art Historians (a collection of works on or by art and artists). The site also includes links to student projects on a variety of art historical, architectural, and archaeological topics.
NOTE: The site owners have recently begun to charge for access to the full size images although the thumbnails are still freely available.
Web Gallery of Art
A collection of over 1000 images intended to support teaching as well as for entertainment. Currently the exhibit focuses on European art from c. 1300 to c.1600 with its main emphasis on painting. The gallery includes works by 248 known artists from Pieter Aertsen to Francisco de Zurbarán and a further 19 anonymous painters.
Each image in the list is presented as a thumbnail which leads to the full image. Brief details of provenance and physical form are included and some images are accompanied by a brief comment. The dimensions and colour-depth of the electronic image are also given in the listing, along with the size which is useful for estimating the time it takes to access the image. The quality of the images throughout is high. A search facility is available, although the information catalogued for each image is less than comprehensive.
The WebMuseum (formerly Le WebLouvre)
One of the oldest and perhaps the best known virtual museum. Includes digital images of many "great works". Collection organised by period with a strong Western bias, although a section on Japanese art is available.
Academic Press Image Directory
A commercial subscription service that boasts 100,000 images from 95 museums and collections. A search interface is available so potential subscribers are able to examine the range of holdings and thoroughness of the cataloguing.

Themed Exhibits and Collections

Digital Images from the Visual Arts Library Monash University. A gateway to Australian art, sculpture, photography, and architecture. Includes exhibits from selected artists, aboriginal art, and introductory essays.
Hogarth Reconsidered: William Hogarth and 18th-century Print Culture
An exhibition based on the main themes of Hogarth's works. Also includes a technical section on the creation of the prints.
National Museum of American Art
Images and text on almost 1000 pieces. Exhibitions include:
Also an online edition of American Art, featuring a selection of illustrated article abstracts, full-length commentaries and Personal Selections, and helpful indexes to the periodical's entire contents since its inception in 1987.
Picasso and Portraiture
An exhibit of several Picasso portraits grouped by subject. Apart from a brief introduction there is no commentary.

Focused Exhibits

The William Blake Archive
Includes text and illuminations from Blake and his circle. Searchable
The Rossetti Archive
The Complete Writings and Pictures of Dante Gabriel Rossetti: A Hypermedia Research Archive is a hypermedia environment for studying the works of the Pre-Raphaelite poet and painter D. G. Rossetti (1828-1882). The archive is a structured database holding digitised images of Rossetti’s works in their original documentary forms. Rossetti’s poetical manuscripts, early printed texts - including proofs and first editions - as well as his drawings and paintings are stored in the archive, in full colour as needed. The materials are marked up for electronic search and analysis, and they are supplied with full scholarly annotations and notes. (based on creators’ description)[Can be very slow]
Thais: 1200 Years of Italian Sculpture
This collection of over 600 photographs (mostly black and white) of sculptures by more than 150 artists. The number of pieces varies considerably with Bernini's work represented by sixteen images. As well as selecting the work of a particular sculptor users can select images according to chronology (Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist, Baroque, Modern). A location index retrieves images taken from 78 locations across Italy and the world; the Italian locations are also accessible from a clickable map. Florence and Rome get their own exhibition space allowing users to select which institution to investigate. (There is little information about each picture beyond subject, date, location, and sculptor. In lieu of photographic details an email address is given for the photographer.)
Tiepolo Virtual Picture Gallery
A selection of images from several Venetian galleries. Navigation information is in English, but accompanying texts remain in Italian.
Barbarians on the Greek Periphery? Origins of Celtic Art
A richly illustrated hypertext doctoral dissertation. This linked collection of online essays allows sophisticated browsing with multiple windows and navigation aids.
The site uses Javascript code that may not work on all browsers.


Online Catalogues

a.k.a. Getty Information Institute Database Searcher
This system allows you to search simultaneously thousands of records from several Getty databases.
  • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals
  • International Repertory of the Literature of Art (RILA), published between 1975 and 1989, it abstracts worldwide literature on Western art in all media from late antiquity to the present
  • Provenance Sale Catalogue Database, British sale catalogues from 1801 to 1825
  • Provenance Sale Contents Database, dedicated to the paintings listed in the sale catalogues, can be searched by artist’s name, title, seller, price, buyer, etc.
a.k.a. uses the Art & Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) and the Union List of Artist Names (ULAN) vocabularies to enhance searches.
Bildarchiv Foto Marburg: Deutsches Dokumentationszentrum für Kunstgeschichte
A searchable catalogue of over one million pictures held in institutions across Germany. Searches can be conducted for keywords, title, artist, place, style, period, subject, method, etc. Searches return a textual description.

Related Online Resources

Vasari Lives of the Artists
A rather crude electronic copy of Vasari's text. Without proper citations or textual notes.
Introduction to Imaging
Issues in Constructing an Image Database, by Howard Besser and Jennifer Trant. (1995)
Vision and Art Tutorial
A tutorial to demonstrate how visual information is used in art.
A language for the description of western European iconography organised into a a hierarchical decimal system. Current implementations allow complex searches to be constructed on the content of images (as described by ICONCLASS).
Numerous German museums, archives, offices for the preservation of historical monuments, research institutes and university institutes are co-operating in compiling a database of art in Germany. This project is called DISKUS (Digitales Informations-System für Kunst- und Sozialgeschichte). Under the joint editorship of Bildarchiv Foto Marburg and Computer & Letteren (Utrecht University), selections from this database have being made available on CD-ROM. The works of art on the CD-ROMs were documented with MIDAS, the "Marburger Informations-, Dokumentations- und Administrations-System". They can be searched and found in many user-friendly ways. Unique is the very comprehensive iconographic indexing (ICONCLASS), enabling searches for the subject matter of the depictions, and the possibility to search all fields of the MIDAS-system separately. (adapted from publishers' description).
The Piero Project/ECIT - Electronic Compendium of Images and Text
A project to place art historical objects in their original architectural context using three dimensional simulation. The project focuses on Piero della Francesca's Legend of the True Cross, painted between 1452 and 1466, in the church of San Francesco in Arezzo, Italy. Teaching applications of the database and simulations have been developed.

Publications & Organisations

CHArt: Computers and the History of Art
The site includes information about CHArt, its conferences and publications, this year’s CHArt awards, the CHArt newsletter online and details of the journal, Computers and the History of Art, including tables of contents and online abstracts.
The CHArt website also includes an extensive list of Art History and related links.
Detours and Delays
an Occasional Journal of Aesthetics and Politics
Iconomania: studies in visual culture
A refereed electronic journal published by Art History Graduate Students at the University of California, Los Angeles
Reading in the Ruins
Fragments of the Passagenwerk
Winterthur Portfolio
A Journal of American Material Culture
kritische berichte
Zeitschrift für Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften

Teaching and Student Projects

Index of Art History Courses on the Web
Provides an extensive listing of courses with some presence on the web.  Saddly many offer merely syllabi, reading lists, etc., but that do use the Web to make available to students images, texts, and computer mediated conferencing.  There are even a few courses that are run online. 
The index provides a brief note on the content of each site and warnings if access is restricted.  Online courses and the best sites are flagged.
Analysis of Visual Images
Art theory and history methodology applied to images. Supplementary resources relevant to the subject Analysis of the Visual Image which is offered as a second-year elective in the Bachelor of Arts, Visual Arts and Bachelor of Education, Art courses at The University of Newcastle Australia.
Art History: A Preliminary Handbook
An introduction for college students from then Department of Fine Arts, Okanagan University College. Includes advice on writing essays, etc.
Art Images for College Teaching
A collection of images, primarily architectural, to support teaching. Images are organised by period and theme. Accompanying references link the images to the relevant pages of several U.S. college textbooks.
Gateway to Art History
A companion to the textbook Gardner's Art Through the Ages published by Harcourt Brace
Web Design & Construction
Projects by credit students on Publishing Humanities on the World Wide Web Australian National University Second Semester, 1996. Including:
  • Deborah ALDRIDGE on Klimt
  • Vicki ANDERSON on Fractal Art

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Last modified: July 27, 2000