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Visual Arts Subject Guide

Background Information

Background information helps you define terms, identify the scope of a topic, and begin coming up with research questions and ideas. You may already have an idea about what you are interested in researching, but learning some of the basic information can be extremely important when researching the visual arts. 

Getty Vocabularies

The Getty Research Institute maintains thesauruses to help you identify the preferred names and vocabulary associated with an individual, location, building, or item.

Benezit Dictionary of Artists

Includes 149,000 artist biographies as well as auction records, exhibition histories, and over 11,000 images of artists’ signatures and stamps of sale.

Oxford Reference Online

Articles from encyclopedias, dictionaries, and reference sources from all subject areas. Includes quotations, maps, and illustrations.