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AMD121: Pre-20th Century Art History: Getting Started

Getting Started


The sections of this course guide will help you locate the required scholarly sources for your choice of research paper.

1) A thorough analysis of a work of art from a museum collection


2) An investigation of an art history issue from the list of topics for this class.

Review the introductory information found at the Articles and Databases link to the left. These guidelines will help you identify the type of material you must use. In art, there is a great deal of opinion that is not sufficiently scholarly to meet scholarly standards, so knowing what to look for will keep  sub-standard resources out of your paper.

Resources are not limited to the CSUSM collection. We can get books from nearby libraries for you (see the Circuit link for information) or Interlibrary Loan all at no cost!

Keep in mind that there may be little to no in-depth research available on the museum piece you choose analyze. Often, your best bet for information about a piece belonging to a museum collection is the museum itself. Many museums have research collections that are open to the public (usually by appointment), or a helpful librarian that can help you track down information. Contact your Arts and Humanities Librarian for assistance if you have trouble accessing these resources.

Art History research is disseminated in many different languages -- sometimes the major research about the work or artist you are interested in is only written about in a language you don't happen to speak! Again, your Arts and Humanities Librarian may be able to help.

Helpful information on using Google Scholar and Google Books is also available. These are places to look AFTER you have used the books and articles CSUSM makes available to you as much of the content found in these two resources will not be full text.

For background information on your historical period, the library has both electronic and print resources. Here are some examples:

The Grove Encyclopedia of Classical Art and Architecture
5th Floor N5610 .G76 2007

The Grove Encyclopedia of Materials and Techniques in Art
5th Floor N8510 .G76 2008

The Dictionary of Art (also published by Grove)
Library Reference N31 .D5 1996

Historical Dictionary of Neoclassical Art and Architecture (online access for CSUSM users)

Many more helpful titles can be found by searching our catalog using the words ART ENCYCLOPEDIA (or DICTIONARY, the terms may be used interchangeably by some publishers) or your particular art period as a search term.

Available on the web:

Timeline of Art History
A site provided by the Metropolitan Museum of Art using images from their vast collections. 

Librarians are available to assist you in person or virtually.