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George Mason University Infoguides | University Libraries
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Art History

Scholarly resources for study and research in Art History

Scholarly books and exhibition catalogs are the primary form of scholarship and writing in art history.

How to find books & catalogs

Scholarly and academic books (sometimes called monographs) are books on a single subject, written by scholars (professors or other academics), and usually published by university presses. These are one of your best resources for research in art history.

Art catalogs are another major source for research in the arts. These differ from academic/scholarly books in that they usually focus on a single exhibition or documentation of an artists' work, rather than providing extensive analysis or historic research.

  • Exhibition catalogs document specific exhibitions or traveling exhibitions. These often include images and essays from curators or scholars, and can help you to understand in what context artworks have been shown.
  • A catalogue raisonné is a comprehensive documentation of the known works of an artist, and might be organized by medium (like drawing or printmaking), subject, or time period. These can be useful for exploring the breadth of an artists' work, exhibition histories, provenance (previous owners), and more.

To search for art catalogs at Mason and beyond, use the library's Advanced Search:

Screenshot of Mason Libraries catalog search, example of search for "judy chicago" and "catalogs"

Browse the shelves for art books

Do you prefer to browse the library's shelves to discover books? Find books in Mason Libraries by their call number, organized roughly in these categories. Look for the call number ranges starting with these letters:

I'm interested in... BROWSE in the library:
Museums and museum studies AM 111 - AM160:  Museology, museum methods
Art history, general fine arts, themes & topics N
  • N8510 - N8553: Art studios, materials, etc.
Architecture NA
  • NA190 - NA1555: History
  • NA4590 - NA5621: Religious architecture
Sculpture

NB 

Drawing, graphic design, illustration NC: Drawing, animation, graphic design, illustration, cartooning

Z 116-659: Book design & printing

Painting ND: Painters and the history of painting
Printmaking NE: Printmaking & engraving
Z116 - Z265: Printing technologies
Photography TR 1 - TR 1050
Graphic Novels & Comic Books PN 6700 - PN 6790