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HUM 101 - Introduction to Humanities (College-wide): Visual Arts

Visual Arts

When using the term "art", the visual arts are usually the first kind of the arts that come to mind for most people. However, this visual arts can further be broken down into the categories of painting, printmaking, sculpture, decorative arts, architecture, and photography.

HACC Library: Books and Media Catalog Search

The HACC Library: Books and Media catalog is a searchable database of books, periodical titles, and audio-visual material available at Harrisburg Area Community College.

 

Recommended Databases

Background Information

These databases include encyclopedias, and are an excellent way to begin any research project. These articles are generally shorter and easier to digest, which makes them ideal for getting a footing in your topic. Fewer keywords work better for searching these databases.

Image Databases

These databases are particularly useful for finding photographs and scanned images of visual art pieces.

Research Databases

These databases are used for searching for articles about the arts or even art criticism. Most of the sources you use in your final projects will come from these databases. Two or more keywords work best when searching these.

Recommended Books

Visual Arts Keywords

When conducting research in the visual arts, if you don't already know the artist or name of the artwork you are researching, try combining the particular genre of visual arts you are searching for with the associated culture you are interested in.

Examples:

Genre Culture
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Scultpure
  • Decorative Arts
  • Architecture
  • Photography

Western

  • Europe
  • United States
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Spain

Non-western

  • Asian
  • African
  • Arabic
  • Native American
  • Aboriginal Australian
  • China
  • Japan

You may also try combining a particular artist or movement of art with what kind of information you are looking for.

Examples:

Artist/Movement Desired Information
  • Van Gogh
  • Cezanne
  • Michelangelo
  • Cubism
  • Impressionism
  • Romanticism
  • Renaissance
  • History
  • Interpretation
  • Criticism
  • Critical Analysis

Western vs. Nonwestern Comparison

Western Non-western
Mary Cassatt, The Coiffure, 1890-1891, drypoint and aquatint on laid paper, sheet: 43.2 x 30.7 cm  (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) Kitagawa Utamaro - Takashima Ohisa Using Two Mirrors to Observe Her Coiffure Night of the Asakusa Marketing Festival - MFA Boston 21.6410
Mary Cassatt, The Coiffure, 1890-1891, drypoint and aquatint on laid paper, sheet: 43.2 x 30.7 cm  (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), Public Domain, Link Kitagawa Utamaro, Takashima Ohisa Using Two Mirrors to Observe Her Coiffure, c. 1795, woodblock print, ink and color on paper, 36.3 x 25 cm  (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), Public Domain, Link

Mary Cassatt visited an exhibition in Paris on Japanese woodblock prints. This experience served as her inspiration for a series of art in which she attempted to emulate aspects of the Japanese style.