Skip to main content

Paintings and the History Surrounding Them: Home

English 1000

Handbooks & Encyclopedias

On the paintings themselves

  • Dictionary of Art (Ref. N31 .D5 1996)
  • Encyclopedia of World Art (Ref. N31 .E533)
  • World Painting Index (Ref. ND45 .H38)
  • Phaidon Encyclopedia of Art and Artists (Ref. N31 .P48)

On Visual Symbols Used in Art:

  • Symbols and Legends in Western Art (Ref. N7740 .W53)
  • Illustrated Dictionary of Symbols in Eastern and Western Art (Ref. N7740 .H35 1994)
  • Hutchinson Dictionary of Symboles in Art (Ref N33 .C37 1995)

On Religious and Mythical Themes:

  • Anchor Bible Dictionary (Ref. BS440 .A54 1992)
  • Who's Who in the Old Testament (Ref. BS570 .C64 1982)
  • Man, Myth and Magic: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mythology, Religion and the Unknown       (Ref. BF1407 .M34 1995)
  • The Facts on File Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend (Ref. BL303 .M45 1988)
  • Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (Ref. PN43 .B65 1999)
  • Facts on File Dictionary of Classical, Biblical, and Literary Allusions (Ref. PN43 .L37 1987)
  • A Dictionary of Biblical Tradition in English Literature (Ref. PR149 .B5 D3 1992)
  • A Dictionary of Biblical Illusions in English Literature (Ref. PR145 .F8)
  • A Dictionary of Classical Reference in English Poetry (Ref. PR508 .C68 S63 1984)

On Historical and General Themes:

  • World Book Encyclopedia (Ref. AE5 .W55 2000)
  • History of Art (Ref. N5300 .J3 1991)
  • The Oxford Companion to Military History (Ref. D25 .A2 O94 2001)
  • Dictionary of Cultural Literacy (Ref. E169.1 .H6 1993)
  • Oxford Dictionary of Allusions (Ref. PE1580 .D45 2001)

Indexes of Paintings (for finding reproductions)

  • Index to Two-Dimensional Art Works (Ref. N7525 .K67)
  • Index to Reproductions of American Paintings (Ref. ND205 .S575)
  • The World Painting Index (Ref. ND45.H38) Google Images

Biographical Sources

Basic biographical information can be found in the following sources.  For more detailed biographies, use the MERLIN Catalog to do a subject search on your person's name, putting last name first.  Scroll down the resulting list of subject headings to find biographies.

  • Index to Artistic Biography (Ref N40 .H38)
  • Current Biography (Ref. CT100 .C8)

Use the MERLIN and MOBIUS catalogs to locate books of criticism about an artist or broad topic.  Do a subject search on the author’s name and scroll to an appropriate subheading.  

For example: Holbein, Hans

Do a table of contents search to locate relevant chapters in books with a broader focus. This is a type of keyword search, not a subject search, so write out the artist's name in natural order.

The keyword search searches for words in author, title, subject headings, tables of contents and notes all at once.   You can use various search options to make your search more precise and to sort the results in various ways. When searching for names, write them in natural order. You may expand your search to include all MOBIUS libraries. Materials requested through MOBIUS are usually delivered in about 48 hours.

Boolean Searching   


Michael Muchow
171 Ellis Library

573 882-6824