Art and Literature

For an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of literature and art, see Ulrich Weisstein, “Literature and the Visual Arts,” pp. 251–77 in Barricelli and Gibaldi, Interrelations of Literature (U5955). Several works in section U: Literature-Related Topics and Sources/Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies treat the relationship of art and literature.

Guides to Reference Works


Arntzen, Etta, and Robert Rainwater. Guide to the Literature of Art History. Chicago: Amer. Lib. Assn.; London: Art, 1980. 616 pp. Z5931.A67 [N380] 016.709.

Marmor, Max, and Alex Ross. Guide to the Literature of Art History 2. Chicago: Amer. Lib. Assn., 2005. 899 pp. Z5931.M37 016.7′09.

A guide to reference works, general studies, and exhibition catalogs (through 1977 in the original edition and 1998 in the supplement) important in the study of art history, especially architecture, sculpture, drawing, painting, prints, photography, and decorative and applied arts. Although international in coverage, Guide to the Literature of Art History emphasizes works in Western languages and excludes studies of individual artists. Entries are organized alphabetically by author in four divisions: general reference sources (including sections for bibliographies, visual resources, dictionaries and encyclopedias, and iconography); general primary and secondary sources (with a section on histories and handbooks); the individual arts; and serials. Most sections are extensively classified, generally by period and country. The annotations fully describe content (sometimes listing the table of contents of a work), and most include helpful evaluative comments. Two indexes in the first edition: authors and titles; subjects (however, the subject indexing is incomplete and frequently vague); the supplement has only an index of authors and titles. Arntzen-Rainwater and Marmor-Ross are the best general guides to reference works and important studies, but the absence of a subject index renders the supplement less accessible than it should be. Reviews: Margaret Girvan, Art Libraries Journal 6.3 (1981): 73–79; Alex Ross, Art Bulletin 65.1 (1983): 169–72.

Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford UP, 2007–13. 14 Jan. 2013. <>. Updated three times per year.

A database that continually expands and revises The Dictionary of Art, ed. Jane Turner, 34 vols. (New York: Grove, 1996); it is part of Oxford Art Online, which includes entries from other Oxford University Press art reference works such as The Oxford Companion to Western Art, ed. Hugh Brigstocke (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2001; 820 pp.). Extensively illustrated and encompassing the visual arts (except for film) of all eras and countries, the more than 45,000 entries from Dictionary of Art and several hundred new ones—all by internationally recognized scholars, and many extending to several hundred pages—cover cultures, nations, schools, periods, artists, theories, methodologies, materials, places, theoretical issues, techniques, artistic genres, and related topics. Many of the lengthy entries consist of separately authored parts; all entries (and some parts) conclude with a bibliography. Search allows keyword searches to be limited to images; Advanced Search allows keyword searches to be limited to Grove Art Online, images, biographies, bibliographies, full text, entry titles, or contributors. In addition, users can browse lists of all entries, biographies, subject entries, or images. Although many images in Dictionary of Art are not available digitally or are more clearly reproduced therein than in Grove Art Online, the latter allows users to print or e-mail images. A masterly achievement, Grove Art Online / Dictionary of Art is the most authoritative and comprehensive of the numerous general encyclopedias of art.

The most comprehensive dictionary of artists is Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon: Die bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker, ed. Günter Meissner (München: Saur, 1992– ); however, as of January 2013 coverage had progressed only to vol. 77: Izaguirre–Jerace. For parts of the alphabet not yet covered, see Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker, eds., Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart (Thieme-Becker), 37 vols. (Leipzig: Seeman, 1907–50), and Hans Vollmer, ed., Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler der XX. Jahrhunderts, 6 vols. (Leipzig: Seeman, 1953–62).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

Serial Bibliographies


International Bibliography of Art (IBA). ProQuest. CSA-ProQuest, 2013. 14 Jan. 2013. <>. Updated monthly.

BHA and RILA. Getty Research Institute. Getty Research Inst., n.d. 14 Jan. 2013. <>.

BHA: Bibliography of the History of Art / Bibliographie d’histoire de l’art. Vandœuvre: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Institut de l’Information Scientifique et Technique; Los Angeles: Getty Research Inst., 1991–2000. Z5937.B53 [N7510] 016.7. CD-ROM.

Bibliographic databases of studies of European art from the fourth century AD to the present, American art from c. 1492 to the present, and non-Western art insofar as it influences European or American art; contemporary art, however, is selectively covered throughout the world. The result of a merger of Répertoire d’art et d’archéologie (RAA) (U5150) and RILA (U5155), BHA both continues and expands the coverage of its predecessors from 1990 through 2007. Entries are accompanied by abstracts in English or French. The CD-ROM includes records since the inception of the print version of BHA (9 vols., 1991–2000); the online version included records for 1973–89 from RAA and for 1975–89 from RILA.

When the Getty withdrew support for BHA at the end of 2009, it provided a free version on its Web site; however, BHA and RILA includes all records from BHA but only records with English-language abstracts and subject headings from RILA. The Getty currently has no plan to add records from RAA to the site.

IBA continues BHA and retains its editorial policies and record structure, incorporates records created during 2008–09, and uses its thesaurus. It can be searched only through ProQuest’s interface (see I519 for an evaluation of the interface).

Together, BHA and IBA offer the fullest, most accessible—but not the most current—coverage of the major art bibliographies.


ARTbibliographies Modern, [1969–2007]. Cambridge: ProQuest, 1969–2008. 2/yr. Former title: LOMA (Literature on Modern Art: An Annual Bibliography) (1969–71). Z5935.L64 016.709′04. <>. Updated monthly.

A bibliography of dissertations, exhibition catalogs, and other scholarship on art and related topics since 1900. (Vols. 4–18 [1973–87] cover 1800 to the present.) Since vol. 4 (1973), entries—accompanied by brief nonevaluative abstracts—are organized in a single subject list, which incorporates generous cross-references. (The earlier volumes are organized by artist, have little other subject access, and are limited to twentieth-century art.) Two indexes in each issue: authors; museums and galleries. Cumulative indexes (with expanded coverage of artists): vols. 1–5 (1984; 166 pp.); vols. 6–10 (1982; 264 pp.); vols. 11–15 (1987; 336 pp.); vols. 16–18 (1989; 232 pp.). Although ARTbibliographies offers the best coverage of modern and contemporary art, the lack of thorough subject indexing—especially of the abstracts—means that researchers looking for studies involving literary works or authors should search the electronic version. (For an evaluation of the ProQuest interface, see entry I519.) Review: Patricia E. Johner, Charleston Advisor 2.1 (2001): n. pag.; 14 Jan. 2013; <>.


Art Full Text. EBSCOhost. Wilson-EBSCO, 2013. 14 Jan. 2013. <>. Updated daily. CD-ROM. Updated monthly. (Also included in OmniFile Full Text Mega Edition [I512].)

Art Index, [1929– ]. New York: Wilson, 1930– . Quarterly, with annual and larger cumulations. Z5937.A78 016.7. <>. CD-ROM.

An author and subject index to articles in about 276 art periodicals, yearbooks, and museum bulletins (as of late June 2005), with coverage extending to archaeology, architecture, art history, crafts, films, graphic arts, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture, museology, photography, and related fields. The serials indexed are determined by subscriber vote, but coverage is reasonably international. Articles are indexed by author and subject; exhibitions and reproductions, by artist. Since vol. 22 (1973–74), book reviews are listed separately at the end. Entries since September 1984 can be searched most effectively in the electronic version and in two related Wilson databases, available online and on CD-ROM: Art Abstracts (with abstracts beginning in spring 1994) and Art Full Text (which offers full text of some articles beginning in 1997); entries from 1929–84 can be searched online in Art Index Retrospective: 1929–1984. See entry I512 for an evaluation of the EBSCO search interface, which all the Art Index databases use. Although the work is the most selective in coverage and limited to articles, it is also the broadest, most current, and easiest to use of the art indexes and is particularly useful for locating a reproduction of an art work.


Répertoire d’art et d’archéologie (de l’époque paléochrétienne à 1939) (RAA). 93 vols. Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1910–89. Z5937.R4 016.7. 15 Jan. 2013. <>; CD-ROM.

A bibliography of books, articles, and exhibition and auction catalogs on the history of art from the early Christian era through 1939. The scope and organization have altered considerably since 1910. Books are excluded until vol. 24 (1920); coverage of primitive and popular art is discontinued with the combined vols. 49–51 (1945–47), and Asian, Islamic, and classical art since ns 1 (1965). RAA was originally composed of a list of contents of journals organized by country of publication; since ns 9 (1973), entries are organized in five extensively classified divisions: general works (including sections for reference works, theory of art, and iconography); general art history; Middle Ages; Renaissance and seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; and nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The period divisions have sections for general studies, architecture, sculpture, painting and graphic arts, and decorative arts, with each subdivided by country. Three indexes in each issue since ns 9 (1973): artists; subjects; authors (each cumulated annually); earlier volumes are variously indexed by authors, artists, and places. Many entries in recent volumes are accompanied by brief descriptive annotations in French.

The online version offers the most convenient access to RAA for 1910–72. Recherche Simple offers basic keyword searching; Recherche Avancée allows keyword searching of full text, authors, subjects, journal title, place of publication, or date. Recherche Experte and Recherche par Liens allows searchers to combine keyword searches of the Recherche Avancée fields and type of document, ISSN, entry number, subject, and annotation. Clicking on the results of a search leads to a page capture of an entry in the printed volumes. Entries can be marked for e-mailing, saving as a PDF file, or adding to a list. Deciphering many of the abbreviated records will require access to the print version. Records for 1973–89 were part of the defunct BHA database (U5138a) but are not included in BHA and RILA.

Of the major art bibliographies, RAA offered the fullest coverage before its merger with RILA (U5155) to form BHA.


RILA: International Repertory of the Literature of Art / Répertoire international de la littérature de l’art (RILA). 15 vols. Williamstown: Getty Art History Information Program, 1975–89. Z5937.R16 [N7510] 016.7. Online through BHA and RILA (U5138); CD-ROM.

An abstracting service for publications (including dissertations and reviews of books and exhibitions from 1974 through 1988) on the history of Western art from the fourth century to the present. Entries are organized in seven classified divisions: reference works; general studies; medieval; Renaissance, baroque, and rococo; neoclassicism and modern (to 1945); modern (1945 to the present); collections and exhibitions. Where appropriate, each division has sections for general studies; architecture; sculpture; pictorial arts; decorative arts; and artists, architects, and photographers. The abstracts are descriptive, with several by document authors. Two indexes in each issue: authors; subjects; cumulative indexes: 1975–1979 (1982; 837 pp.); 1980–1984 (1987; 1,318 pp.); 1985–1989 (2 vols.; 1990). Entries with English-language abstracts and subject headings can be searched through BHA and RILA (U5138). Until its merger with RAA (U5150) to form BHA, RILA offered the most thorough subject indexing of the major art bibliographies.

See also

Humm, Annotated Critical Bibliography of Feminist Criticism (U6170).

Other Bibliographies


Huddleston, Eugene L., and Douglas A. Noverr. The Relationship of Painting and Literature: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1978. 184 pp. Amer. Studies Information Guide Ser. 4. Z5069.H84 [N66] 016.75913.

A checklist of paintings and analogous works of American literature and of English-language studies, through c. 1976, of the relationship between the two. Entries are organized in six divisions: analogous American paintings and American poems (organized by artist in six chronological periods, with a numbering system defining the closeness of the analogy); American poems on paintings (organized by poet); American poems on painters; American poems on unspecified paintings, painters, and related subjects; studies of the relationship between poetry and painting; studies of the relationship between fiction and painting. Additions to the last two divisions appear on pp. 147–49. A very few entries are annotated, and those are done inadequately. Three indexes: authors; painters; paintings, books, and poems. Highly selective and misleadingly titled, Relationship of Painting and Literature is only marginally useful as a starting point for research.


Lambrechts, Eric, and Luc Salu. Photography and Literature: An International Bibliography of Monographs. 2 vols. London: Continuum, 1992–2000. Z1023.L33 016.096′1.

A bibliography of approximately 5,966 books, dissertations, photonovels, catalogs, and special issues of magazines published between 1839 and 1999 that treat the relation between photography and literature, contain portraits of writers or places with literary associations, or print a literary text accompanied by photographs. Entries, listed alphabetically by photographer or author (with generous cross-references, including ones for editors and writers of prefatory matter in vol. 1), provide basic bibliographical information, an occasional note identifying type of work, number of photographs, and language. Two indexes: names; broad subject categories (users must be certain to consult the subheadings under Geographical Studies and Topical Studies). Although including only separately published works, Photography and Literature is the essential starting point for locating studies of the subject as well as identifying editions of literary works illustrated with photographs.

See also

“Bibliography on the Relations of Literature and the Other Arts” (U5965).

MLAIB (G335): See the headings beginning “Art,” “Painting,” and “Sculpture” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Rice, English Fiction, 1900–1950 (M2840).

Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory (U6133) sometimes devotes a chapter to photography theory.