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Art History Research Guide: Research Works of Art

This guide will help you find books, articles, images, and other information about varied art history topics: artists, works of art, concepts, movements.

Getting Started

1. Artist name and nationality. Correct spelling is very important.

2. Date (exact or approximate) of the object.

3. Title of the work.

4. Medium and/or technique. *Generally all of this information will be included on the label next to the object on exhibit.

5. Where is the work/who ows it. The museum or institution that owns the work will have helpful information.

Researching a Work of Art in a Museum Collection

Writing about a work of art requires the use of many sources, most importantly the art! In New York City, you don't have to go far to find a work of art, or information about it. This page provides a few tips on starting research and writing about a specific work in a New York City cultural institution. 

Artist name: Pieter Breughel the Elder, Netherlandish, Breda ca. 1525-1569 Brussels

Date: 1565

Title: The Harvesters

Medium: Oil on Wood

Where: Metropolitan Museum of Art


Find Information Online

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's website contains helpful information about works in its collection. Each work has a dedicated webpage. Always check the museum's website for info about a work of art you are writing about. For The Harvesters (to the left) you can find the following info here.

  • Description
  • Exhibition History
  • Bibliography with citations to books and articles about the painting and the artist
  • Entries in the Met's Heilbrun Timeline of Art History, an excellent resource

Guides to Writing About Art

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