Art History: Resources for Research: 4-Encyclopedias & Dictionaries, Multi-volume Surveys & Corpora

4-Encyclopedias & Dictionaries, Multi-volume Surveys & Corpora

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Encyclopedias, Chronologies & Dictionaries

*Architectural Publications Society. Dictionary of Architecture. 8 vols. in 5. (1852-92) (Online and print)
[Avery Offsite AA 31 Ar2]

Dictionary of Japanese Art Terms. (bilingual) (1990)
[Starr East Asian Reference NX 80 .N53 1990]

*Enciclopedia Dell'Arte Antica, Classica e Orientale. Ed. by R. Bianchi-Bandinelli, G. Beccati. 7 vols.;. v.8 Indici; v.9  Atlante dei Complessi Figurati, v.10-11 Atlante delle Forme Ceramiche, 2 vols. (1958-85) and suppls: 1st (1970) 1 vol; 2nd (1994) 2 vols. 
[Avery Reference N 31 En16 and ... En161]

*Enciclopedia dell'Arte Medievale. Dir. by Angiola Maria Romanini. 12 vols. (1991-2002)
[Avery Reference N 31 En163]

*Encyclopedia of World Art. 15 vols., index and suppls: (1959-68) (1983) (1987)
[Fine Arts Offsite N 31 En19]
Was the standard until the publication Grove Art Online (Dictionary of Art) {see 5.6 below}, but this set continues to be an invaluable encyclopedia, but simply not with current literature or interests.

Erlich, R.W. Chronologies in Old World Archaeology. 2 vol. (1992)
[Avery-Fine Arts N 5330 Eh8821]

*Icon Grove Art Online. (Online:an option within Oxford Art Online)
[Avery Reference N 31 D56]  (1996) 34 vols as Dictionary of Art.
The standard scholarly art historical encyclopedia.

Icon Grove Encyclopedia of American Art. (Online)
[Avery-Fine Arts N6505 .G76 2011]

Icon Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts. (Online)
[Avery AK30 G93 (2006)]
Contains over 3,000 entries covering thousands of years of decorative arts production throughout western and non-western cultures. Includes entries on Alvar Aalto, Charles and Ray Eames,  Navajo blankets, etc. . Also included are hundreds of entries on the qualities and historical uses of materials, concise definitions on art form and styles, and in-depth articles discussing the history of armor, jewelry, furniture, textiles, and ceramics.

Icon International encyclopaedia for the Middle Ages. (Online:a choice within Brepols’ offerings)
Considered an update to Lexikon des Mittelalters, providing original articles that cover the time period 300-1500 CE, in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Icon Lexikon des Mittelalters. (Online:a choice within Brepols’ offerings)
The standard encyclopaedia for medieval studies. It deals with all branches of Medieval Studies and covers the period from 300 to 1500 AD/CE for the whole of Europe and parts of the Middle East and North Africa. Users can perform automatic bibliographic searches in the International Medieval Bibliography Online.

Mayer, Ralph. Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques. (1991)
[Avery Reference ND 1260 M45111]
Explains the technical process of creating visual art.

Icon Oxford Art Online. (Online)
Includes: Grove Art Online, Oxford companion to Western Art, Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms.

Icon Oxford Classical Dictionary.  (Online).
Ed. by Simon Hornblower and Anthony Spawforth (Online: 3rd ed 2002) (Print: 4th ed. 2012: Butler Digital Humanities Center & Butler Ancient/Medieval Reading Room: DE5.O9 2012)  Covers the Greco-Roman world. It includes articles and definitions regarding literature, art, philosophy, law, biography, mythology, science, geography, daily life, and broad cultural and historical trends.

Icon Oxford Companion to Archaeology. (Online)
[Butler Ref (Butler 310 & 301)  CC70 .O96 2012] (Online: 2nd ed 2012)

Icon Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization. (Online)
[Avery-Fine Arts N 33 Ox211] (Online: 2nd ed. 2014)

Icon Oxford companion to Western Art. (Online)
Ed. by Hugh Brigstocke.
[Avery-Fine Arts N33 Ox227]

Icon Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. (Print pub:2001; released Online:2005)
Ed. by Alexander P. Kazhdan. Contains more than 5,000 searchable entries covering all aspects of Byzantine history and civilization from the 4th through the 15th centuries, with special depth in subjects such as bureaucratic titles and fiscal terms, urban life, and rural economy.

Icon Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. (Print pub.2001; released Online:2005)
Ed. by Donald B. Reford. Contains 600 entries covering the prehistoric, predynastic, and dynastic phases of ancient Egypt within the context of its contiguous and sometimes conquering neighbors, tracing its history through the Islamic conquest of 642 CE, with the focus on dynastic Egypt. Treats all branches of Egyptology: archaeology, anthropology, architecture, linguistics, literary studies, epigraphy, papyrology, history, art history, religion, economics, ecology, geomorphology, and the life sciences.                                                                                        

Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East. (Online)
[Avery-Fine Arts N 5340 Ox2] 5 vols. (1997)

Icon Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican cultures. (Print pub:2001; released Online:2006)
Ed. by David Carrasco. Chronicles Pre-Hispanic, colonial, and modern Mesoamerica, defined as the lands stretching from Mexico to the southern tip of Central America. With more than 600 articles, it is invaluable for those interested in the rich heritage of this land. Encompassing the great civilizations of the pre-Columbian era (including the Olmec, Aztec, and Maya peoples) up through the colonial and postcolonial periods, the Encyclopedia covers art, archaeology, religious studies, anthropology, history, and historiography of the region in fully cross-referenced, signed articles by the leading scholars in the discipline.

Icon Oxford Islamic Studies Online. (Online)
Ed. by John L. Esposito. Contains more than 5,000 encyclopedia articles as well as primary source documents, maps, images, and timelines. Comprehensive resource for the study of the history, people, politics, and cultures of the Islamic worlds.

Icon Pauly-Wissowa. Brill's new Pauly. (Online)
Intended as an aid for the study of Greek and Roman culture and its multifaceted presence in all periods of European and, since the Early Modern period, world history.  Print editions: Kleine-Pauly. 5 vols. (1964-1975) [Avery Reference N 31 P2811]
and Real-Encyclopaedie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft. 60 vols. +15 vol. suppl. (1894-1978) [Avery Reference N 31 P281] and Index to Suppls. [Avery Reference N31 M95] and Neue Pauly (1996) [Avery Reference N 31 N39]  Best known by the editors' names. The standard classical encyclopaedia.  Volume 14+ of Neue Pauly (Rezeptions-und Wissenschafts-geschichte) is useful to not only Ancient historians, but also to historians  of the Renaissance through the 18th Century.

Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites. (Online)
[Avery Reference A31 P93]
   ed. Richard Stillwell, 1019 p. (1976). Summaries of excavation results with references to full reports. Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Glossary, maps, map indexes, illustrations.

Reallexikon zur Byzantinischen Kunst.
[Avery-Fine Arts N 6250 R22] (1963-to date)

Icon Schmitt, Otto. Reallexikon zur Deutschen Kunstgeschichte (AKA RDK-Web). (Online) (1937-)
[Avery-Fine Arts N 31 Sch5]
Despite its title it is not restricted to Germany. For example: W. S. Heckscher's entry on "Emblem, Emblembuch" is authoritative. Covers Middle ages to 1850. Bibliographies at end of each article.           


Occasionally there exists a published corpus of many or all known works in a given genre (e.g. Byzantine ivories). Two such corpora are exemplified here. Others may be found in the card catalog or CLIO by subject, or refer to appropriate subject bibliographies.  Another category of corpora are catalogues raisonnés, which are published efforts to collocate the works of a single artist.  There is a website (the third item below) that has a database of published catalogues raisonnés and those in preparation.

Icon Artifex Press catalogues raisonnés. (Online)
Web site providing access to Artifex Press's digital catalogue raisonné project. At time of access (July 5, 2017), artists include Chuck Close (paintings 1967-present), Jim Dine (sculpture, 1983-present), Tim Hawkinson, Agnes Martin and James Siena. More digital catalogues raisonnés will be forthcoming.

Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. (CVA) (Online)
[Avery Offsite AK 3800 ...; for exact call numbers see card catalog or CLIO] (1922-)
[Summary guide: Avery AK 3800 In84]                                                       
Photographic survey of classical vases arranged by country and collection. Index not yet published.

Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting. Over 20 vols. (1930-) 
[Avery-Fine Arts ND 620 F66 0f22]
Corpus of Renaissance Italian painting of Florence. Begun by Richard Offner, continued since 1984 by various scholars.     

International Foundation for Art Research. Catalogues Raisonnes. (Online:as part of the IFAR website)
A database of published catalogues raisonnés and those in preparation.      

 Print Council of America search index to print catalogues raisonne. (Online).
An online version of The Print Council Index to Oeuvre-Catalogues of Prints by European and American Artists by Timothy A. Riggs, expanded and brought up-to-date by Lauren B. Hewes.