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John M. Kelly Library

Research Guide to Christianity and the Visual Arts

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This research guide is designed for use particularly by undergraduate students in the Christianity and Culture Program. It is maintained by Noel S. McFerran. It was last updated September 2011.

Dictionaries

Each of these works includes brief articles about artistic styles, church furnishings and symbols, Biblical characters and events, saints, and Christian artists. The articles in the Oxford Companion are the longest and perhaps the most scholarly. But each work includes topics not in the other two books.


The Oxford Companion to Christian Art and Architecture.

The Oxford Companion to Christian Art and Architecture.

By Peter and Linda Murray. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
[Available online for UofT use.]
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area – N 7830 .M87 1996]

The Dent Dictionary of Symbols in Christian Art.

The Dent Dictionary of Symbols in Christian Art.

By Jennifer Speake. London: Dent, 1994.
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area – BV 150 .S63 1994]

Dictionary of Christian Art.

Dictionary of Christian Art.

By Diane Apostolos-Cappadona. New York: Continuum, 1994.
[Available online for UofT use.]
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area – BV 150 .A66 1994]

Encyclopedic Works

The Dictionary of Art.

The Grove Dictionary of Art.

New York: Grove, 1996. 34 volumes.
[Available online for UofT use.]
[Print version: St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area – N 31 .D5 1996]
In over 41,000 articles, this mammoth work covers the visual arts from around the world from prehistory to the 1990s. Included are articles on painting, sculpture, architecture, graphic and decorative arts, and photography. In addition, influences on the production of art such as religion, trade, geography, history and politics are fully addressed.

Encyclopedia of World Art.

Encyclopedia of World Art.

New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959-68. 15 volumes + 2 supplements.
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area – N 31 .E53]
Lengthy articles by subject specialists on "architecture, sculpture, and painting, and every other man-made object that, regardless of its purpose or technique, enters the field of esthetic judgment because of its form or decoration." The second half of each volume consists of plates illustrating the articles in the first half of the volume.

New Catholic Encyclopedia.

New Catholic Encyclopedia.

2nd edition. Washington, DC: Gale, 2003. 15 volumes + supplements.
[Available online for UofT use.]
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area – BX 841 .N44 2003]
The major English-language encyclopedia on Catholic topics, this work contains some 17,000 articles, each with a bibliography. There is an article entitled "Art, Articles on" which provides an overview of the encyclopedia's artistic content and identifies several hundred entries relating to the visual arts. Unfortunately many of the articles in the 2003/online edition are reprints from the 1967 edition without any updating.

Iconography of Christian Art.

Iconography of Christian Art.

By Gertrud Schiller. Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1971-1972. 2 volumes.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor – N 7830 .S3513]
An English-language translation of the first two volumes of the 8 volume German edition (Robarts N 7830 .S35). Lengthy articles on representations of events from the life of Christ. Black-and-white illustrations of over 1000 works of art.

Saints in Italian Art.

Saints in Italian Art.

By George Kaftal. Florence: Le lettere, 1952-1985. 4 volumes.
[Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library – E-10/3661, 3662, 3667, 4175]
Each volume considers how the saints and blessed are represented in the paintings of a particular area of Italy. Many illustrations.

Iconographie de l'Art Chretien.

Iconographie de l'art chrétien.

By Louis Reau. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1955. 3 volumes in 6.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor – N 7830 .R28]
Volume 1 includes introductory articles about Christian symbolism. The articles in volume 2 (Parts 1 and 2) consider the representation of various biblical stories and characters. The articles in volume 3 (Parts 1, 2, and 3) consider the representation of Christian saints. Each article includes a list of major works of art and a very specific bibliography.

Lexikon der christlichen Ikonographie.

Lexikon der christlichen Ikonographie.

Edited by Engelbert Kirschbaum. Rome: Herder, 1968-1976. 8 volumes.
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area – BV 150 .L4]
This work is similar to Reau's Iconographie de l'Art Chretien - but it is more a work of reference with longer bibliographies and lists of major works of art. The articles in volumes 1 to 4 consider the representation of particular biblical characters, events, and symbols. The articles in volumes 5 to 8 consider the representation of particular Christian saints, but with very little explanation. Many black-and-white illustrations.

Handbooks of Symbols

Signs & Symbols in Christian Art.

Signs & Symbols in Christian Art.

By George Ferguson. New York: Oxford University Press, 1954.
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area – N 7830 .F37]
Fourteen chapters on the Christian symbolism of animals, flowers, the human body, angels, biblical characters, saints, colours, and religious objects.

Church Symbolism.

Church Symbolism.

By F. R. Webber. Cleveland, OH: Jansen, 1938.
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area – BV 150 .W4 1938]
An explanation of the more important symbols of the Bible and the Church. Includes symbols for God (e.g. the triangle) and the saints. Illustrated with pen drawings.

Dictionary of Symbols.

Dictionary of Symbols.

By Carl G. Liungman. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1991.
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area – BL 603 .L5413 1991]
Brief descriptions of approximately 1,500 ideograms used in the Western world.

Symbols.com.

Symbols.com.

2nd edition. Washington, DC: Gale, 2002. 15 volumes.
[Available online for free.]
An online encyclopedia of Western signs and ideograms with information on over 2,500 common symbols. Symbols can be looked up using a word index or using a graphics search engine.

Other Useful Works

Art of the Christian World, A.D. 200 - 1500: A Handbook of Styles and Forms.

Art of the Christian World, A.D. 200 - 1500: A Handbook of Styles and Forms.

New York: Rizzoli, 1982.
[St Michael's 2nd Floor – N 7832 .A7213 1982]
Chapters on Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic art, including architecture, sculpture, and painting. Highly illustrated with line drawings.

Encyclopedia of Women in Religious Art.

Encyclopedia of Women in Religious Art.

By Diane Apostolos-Cappadona. New York: Continuum, 1996.
[Robarts Library 12th Floor Stacks – N 7793 .W65 A66 1996X]

Myth & Religion in European Painting, 1270-1700.

Myth & Religion in European Painting, 1270-1700.

By Satia and Robert Bernen. New York: Braziller, 1973.
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area – ND 1288 .B47]
The stories of 850 common painting subjects drawn from classical mythology, ancient history, the Bible, and lives of the saints. Quotations and summaries from the Bible and from ancient, medieval and Renaissance writers tell the stories as the painters themselves might have known them.

Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art.

Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art.

Edited by Helene E. Roberts. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1998. 2 volumes.
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area – N 7565 .E53 1998]
Instead of relating the stories of particular biblical or mythological characters, this work treats the themes of these stories (e.g. abandonment, abduction, adultery). Numerous Christian themes are included: annunciation, apocalypse, baptism, communion, damned souls, death, dreams, grieving, judgment, light, logos, martyrdom, peace, penitence, sacrifice, shepherds, temptation.

Finding Journal Articles

Art Abstracts

Art Abstracts.

[Available online (1984 - present) for UofT use.]

Art Index Retrospective.

Art Index Retrospective.

[Available online (1929 - 1984) for UofT use.]
Bibliographic citations and abstracts to articles from over 260 art journals. Includes the fields of archaeology, architecture, art history, city planning, crafts, graphic arts, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture, museology, photography, and film.

Bibliography of the History of Art.

Bibliography of the History of Art.

[Available online (1973 - present) for UofT use.]
[St Michael's 1st Floor Reference Area – BX 841 .N44 2002]
The most comprehensive and up-to-date art history bibliography available worldwide, covering European and American art from late antiquity to the present. Includes art-related books, conference proceedings, dissertations, exhibition and dealer's catalogs, and articles from more than 2,500 journals.

Catholic Periodical and Literature Index.

Catholic Periodical and Literature Index.

[Available online (1981 - present) for UofT use.]
[Print version (1930 - 1980): St Michael's Reference Area – AI 3 .C3]
Over 200,000 bibliographic citations to Catholic books, book reviews, and journal articles from more than 160 Catholic magazines.

ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials.

ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials.

[Available online (1949 - present) for UofT use.]
Over one million bibliographic citations to journal articles, essays in books, and book reviews in the field of religion.

It is possible to search the ATLA Religion Database and the Catholic Periodical and Literature Index at the same time: when you are using one or the other index, click on the blue "Choose Databases" tab at the top of the webpage, place checkmarks against both indexes, and then click on the "Continue" tab. Both the ATLA Religion Database and the Catholic Periodical and Literature Index include links to many full-text electronic journal articles.

Both the ATLA Religion Database and the Catholic Periodical and Literature Index include links to many full-text electronic journal articles.


Index of Christian Art.

Index of Christian Art.

[Available online for UofT use.]
Princeton University's index provides information on Christian artwork from the eastern and western churches from the apostolic era to medieval times. The approximately 200,000 records in this index provide bibliographic information and, in many cases, photographic reproductions of the artwork.

Image Galleries on the Internet

FADIS.

FADIS.

[Available online for UofT use.]
Over 30,000 images of painting, sculpture, and architecture.

Web Gallery of Art.

Web Gallery of Art.

[Available online]
Over 10,000 images of European painting and sculpture of the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods (1150-1800).

Christus Rex et Redemptor Mundi.

Christus Rex et Redemptor Mundi.

[Available online]
Image galleries of famous paintings and churches.

Art Concordance.

Art Concordance.

[Available online]
An index to images on the web on biblical and liturgical subjects.

WebMuseum.

WebMuseum.

[Available online]
Image galleries of famous paintings from the thirteenth to the twentieth centuries.

Art History Resources on the Web.

Art History Resources on the Web.

[Available online]
Web links maintained by Chris Witcombe at Sweet Briar College. Includes the "Gateway to Art History" with web links compiled for use with the book Gardner's Art Through the Ages.

ArtServe.

ArtServe.

Australian National University.

[Available online]
Over 80,000 images of art and architecture.