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ARH 125/126 Resources: Getting Started

Choose a work

Be certain to:

  • look carefully at the work
  • take notes  to refer to later
  • make note of the author, year, date
  • read any and all signs or plaques that accompany the work

Background Information

Reference sources, such as encyclopedias, provide you with background information on a subject, such as:

  • a basic overview
  • a brief chronology or historical context
  • key concepts or themes
  • established facts

Questions to Consider

After looking at the work you chose, you are ready to get started - before you even get into the library!

Professor Chase suggests that you ask yourself the same questions you can ask after seeing virtually any work of art:

  • What is depicted? (i.e. What is the CONTENT?)
  • How has the artist gone about treating the subject? (i.e. What FORM does it take?)

Consult your Term Paper Guidelines for more suggestions from Professor Chase to get your thinking headed in the right direction.

Search Tips


  • You can basically look up a combination of the historical time period, or country, and then add "AND art".
  • You may need to look up both the artist or artwork and style: 
    • Picasso AND Cubism 
    • "Girl with a Pearl Earring" AND Vermeer (*note with phrases, use " ".)
  • You can also include the words : criticism, analysis, or interpretation as additional words to help the search.
    • Rembrandt AND criticism