This is a subject guide for finding materials on visual art terms and artists' tools and materials in the Greenfield Library at the University of the Arts®. Send any questions about this topic to Mary Louise Castaldi, Reference Librarian,

Reference Materials

Books located in the reference stacks: specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias or handbooks are particularly helpful for finding basic background information on a topic. The following is a list of books in the Greenfield Library reference stacks. These books must be used only in the library.


The dictionary of art. Jane Turner, editor. Grove's Dictionaries, 1996.
-*-Really an encyclopedia, this is the most current full-length encyclopedia devoted to art currently available. Always check the index in volume 34-*-
REF 703 D561t v. 1-34

Grove art online -*-Electronic version of the dictionary of art-*-

Encyclopedia of world art. McGraw-Hill, 1959-1987. REF 703 En2 v. 1-17

Harris, Jonathan (Jonathan P.) Art history: the key concepts. Routledge, 2006. REF 709 H242a

Langmuir, Erika. The Yale dictionary of art and artists. Yale University Press, c2000. REF 703 L267y

Lucie-Smith, Edward. The Thames and Hudson dictionary of art terms. Thames and Hudson, 2004. REF 703 L963t 2004

Mayer, Ralph. The HarperCollins dictionary of art terms and techniques. HarperPerennial, 1992. REF 751 M45h 1992

Metzger, Philip W. The artist's illustrated encyclopedia: techniques, materials, and terms. North Light Books, c2001. REF 702.8 M568a

McGraw-Hill dictionary of art. McGraw-Hill, 1969. REF 703 M17 v. 1-5

The Oxford dictionary of art. 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 2004. REF 703 Ox2c 2004

Pierce, James Smith. From abacus to Zeus: a handbook of art history. 7th ed. Pearson Prentice Hall, c2004. REF 703 P611f 2004

Reynolds, Kimberley. Illustrated dictionary of art terms. Bedrick, 1984, c1981. REF 703 R335i


Atkins, Robert. Artspeak: a guide to contemporary ideas, movements, and buzzwords, 1945 to the Present. 2nd ed. Abbeville Press, 1997.
-*-Short definitions of art movements, art forms, and critical terms. Most entries are broken into who, when, where and what. Compare time coverage with Artspoke below. Both Artspeak and Artspoke have timelines in the front-*-
REF 700.904 At53a 1997

Atkins, Robert. Artspoke: a guide to modern ideas, movements, and buzzwords, 1848-1944. Abbeville Press, 1993. REF 703 At53a 1993

Baldwin, Gordon. Looking at photographs: a guide to technical terms. J. Paul Getty Museum in association with British Museum Press, c1991. REF 770.3 B193l

Bassett, Jane. Looking at European sculpture: a guide to technical terms. J. Paul Getty Museum in association with the Victoria & Albert Museum, c1997. REF 730.3 B294l

Brown, Michelle. Understanding illuminated manuscripts: a guide to technical terms. J. Paul Getty Museum in association with the British Library, c1994. REF 745.6703 B814u

Campbell, Alastair. The designer's lexicon: the illustrated dictionary of design, printing, and computer terms. Chronicle Books, 2000. REF 741.603 C152d

Carr, Dawson W. Looking at paintings: a guide to technical terms. J. Paul Getty Museum in association with British Museum Press, c1992. REF 750.3 C23l

Chilvers, Ian. A dictionary of twentieth-century art. Oxford University Press, 1998. REF 709.04003 C439d

Cohen, David Harris. Looking at European ceramics: a guide to technical terms. J. Paul Getty Museum in association with British Museum Press, c1993. REF 738.094 C66l

The Focal encyclopedia of photography: digital imaging, theory and applications, history, and science. 4th ed. Elsevier/Focal Press, c2007.
REF 770.3 F681p 2007
Greenfield CDs & CD-ROM GCD106 (Ask at the Circulation Desk)

Goldman, Paul. Looking at prints, drawings, and watercolours: a guide to technical terms. 2nd ed. J. Paul Getty Museum, c2006. REF 760.03 G569l 2006

Kostelanetz, Richard. A dictionary of the avant-gardes. Routledge, 2001. REF 700.904 K848d 2001

McDarrah, Gloria S. The photography encyclopedia. Schirmer Books, c1999. REF 770.3 M459pe

Mora, Gilles. PhotoSpeak: a guide to the ideas, movements, and techniques of photography, 1839 to the present. 1st ed. Abbeville Press Publishers, c1998.
REF 770.3 P566m 1998

The Oxford companion to twentieth-century art. Edited by Harold Osborne. Oxford University Press, 1988.
-*-Highly recommended! Contains biographical material as well as definitions of artistic movements and terms-*-
REF 709.04 Ox2o

Patin, Thomas. Artwords: a glossary of contemporary art theory. Greenwood Press, 1997. REF 701.09045 P273a

Understanding art: a reference guide to painting, sculpture, and architecture in the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods. Sharpe Reference, c2000. REF 709 Un2art v.1-2

Walker, John A. Glossary of art, architecture & design since 1945. 3rd ed. G.K. Hall, 1992. REF 703 W152 1992


Gottsegen, Mark David. The painter's handbook: a complete reference. Rev. and expanded. Watson-Guptill Publications, 2006. REF 751 G717p 2006

Krug, Margaret Manning. An artist's handbook: materials and techniques. Abrams, 2007. REF 751.4 K936a

Mayer, Ralph. The artist's handbook of materials and techniques. 5th ed. Viking, 1991. REF 751 M45 1991

McCann, Michael. Health hazards manual for artists. 4th rev. & augm. ed. Lyons & Burford, c1994. REF 702.8 M126h 1994

Metzger, Philip W. The North Light artist's guide to materials & techniques. 1st pbk. ed. North Light Books, 2001. REF 702.8 M568n 2001

Mills, John W. The encyclopedia of sculpture techniques Watson Guptill Publications, 1989. REF 731.4 M626e

Rossol, Monona. The artist's complete health & safety guide. 2nd ed. Allworth Press, c1994. REF 702.8 R737a 1994

Sidaway, Ian. The watercolor artist's paper directory: discover the best paper for your art! North Light, c2000. REF 702.8 W291s

Smith, Ray. The artist's handbook. DK Pub., 2003.
** "The complete, practical guide to the tools, techniques and materials of painting, drawing and printmaking." **
REF 702.8 Sm64a 2003

Searching the Catalog by Subject

The University Libraries combine their holdings in one ONLINE CATALOG. Use it to find books, videos, CDs, scores, journal titles, etc. To locate all of the materials the library holds on a topic, it is most efficient to search by subject. Use the following SUBJECT HEADINGS to find materials in addition to the Reference Books listed above. Be careful to follow the exact spelling and form. These subject headings are standard and are used in most libraries.


Periodical Indexes: Finding Magazine Articles

Magazine and journal articles will always be the best place to look for current information on your topic. Periodical indexes are research tools that allow you to search for articles in journals and magazines.

Go to the library's Research Tools and Resources page for a list of the UArts Libraries' subscription databases, indexes, and reference works.

I've found articles I want to read. Now what?
There are different ways to find an article once you retrieve a citation in the index:

  • See if there is a link in the index you're using to a full-text article online and download it or e-mail it to yourself.
  • Check to see if our library holds the journal title. Look up the journal title or the ISSN*** in the catalog and look at the holdings.
    • ***What is an ISSN? ISSN stands for International Standard Serial Number and is a unique number for a magazine or journal (not individual articles, but the magazine/journal title itself). You can use it in the UArts Libraries catalog and in many periodical indexes and databases. Searching with a number is much more precise than typing out a long title.
  • Use interlibrary loan to request materials not owned by the UArts Libraries.
  • See what other libraries in the area hold the journal.

Style Manuals: Citing Your Sources

When you find information on a topic, no matter what format it takes (book, journal, Web page), there are style manuals to show you the correct way to give cite those sources in a paper.

Web Sites

Searching the Web can be overwhelming. If you are using the Internet for research you want to choose sites that meet the standards of accuracy, currency and authority.

There are many art education-related sites and resources available on the Internet and World Wide Web. The few listed here should provide many links to other sites.

American Art Therapy Association, Inc. - Resources and Links

National Art Education Association
See About Us for a description of the organization. This is one of the premier professional organizations for art educators. Student discount memberships are available, and NAEA publications are available at a discounted members' rate. To check the University Libraries catalog for NAEA publications, search by author for National Art Education Association.

ARTSEDGE: The National Arts and Education Information Network
"ARTSEDGE - the National Arts and Education Network - supports the placement of the arts at the center of the curriculum and advocates creative use of technology to enhance the K-12 educational experience."--quoted from About Us. Includes news, teaching materials, and professional resources. ArtsEdge is a program of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and includes materials on performing arts as well as visual arts.

The Getty: Education
The education portion of the Getty Museum's Web site. Includes a searchable database of lesson plans, a listserv, and material for museum education studies.

Links for Teachers from Joyce Kasman Valenza's Springfield Township High School Virtual Library
An excellent starting point for teachers in any discipline. Valenza used to write a weekly column in the Philadelphia Inquirer on education and the Internet. From the Springfield Township High School Virtual Library home page you may also want to explore "Links for Students", which includes clip-art resources, information literacy resources, and more.

National Gallery of Art: Loan Materials Finder
"The National Gallery of Arts Education Division provides slide teaching programs, multimedia programs, videocassettes, CD ROMs, DVDs and videodiscs to millions of viewers each year. These programs are intended to foster awareness of the visual arts and make Gallery collections accessible to a broad audience beyond the Gallery's walls. They are circulated free of charge to educational institutions, community groups, and individuals throughout the United States."--from About Loans. See also the National Gallery of Art's Web page on its education division:

No Subject Left Behind: A Guide to Arts Education Opportunities in the 2001 Education Act [PDF]
No Subject Left Behind
"This publication provides an overview to programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. These laws are the basis for most federal funding for the nation's schools."

World Wide Web Virtual Library: Museums
"The VL [Virtual Library] is the oldest catalog of the web, started by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of HTML and the Web itself. Unlike commercial catalogs, it is run by a loose confederation of volunteers, who compile pages of key links for particular areas in which they are expert; even though it isn't the biggest index of the web, the VL pages are widely recognised as being amongst the highest-quality guides to particular sections of the web." Source: About the Virtual Library

Art History Resources on the Web / Chris Witcombe
An often-recommended site. Organized primarily by country or by time period, you need to know where your artwork or artist falls within those categories. Do some research in the library first! If you are a UArts student, faculty or staff member, start with the online Grove Dictionary of Art to find basic information on your subject before trying sites like this.

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