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Art and Architecture: Renaissance - C18th

The Sackler Library is the premier research library for the study of art and architecture at the University of Oxford. It incorporates the libraries formerly housed at the History of Art Department and the Ashmolean Museum.


Massive union catalogue of countless libraries worldwide. Useful for finding books and archival materials beyond Oxford.


Accademia di San Luca (Rome)
Scans, transcriptions and English-language translations of every known notary document (c. 1590-1635) in the Archivio di Stato (Rome), relating to the founding and early history of the Accademia di San Luca, Rome.

Gli anni della Cupola: The Years of the Cupola
Compiled by Margaret Haines. Online edition of the entire contents of the archive of Florence’s Opera del Duomo for the years during which Brunelleschi’s cupola was planned and constructed (1417-1436). 

Medici Archive (Florence, Italy)
Access to the Medici Grand Ducal Archive through scans and transcriptions of original documents. Individuals can be searched according to profession (e.g., actors, architects, artists, collectors, poets, printers, patrons, etc.) 

Montias Database of 17th century Dutch Art Inventories
Compiled by the late John Michael Montias, the database contains information from 1,280 inventories of goods (paintings, prints, sculpture, furniture, etc.) owned by the residents of 17th century Amsterdam.

Other guides to research resources

Historians of Netherlandish Art 
Communication point for the study of Netherlandish, German and Franco-Flemish art and architecture.

Medieval and Early Modern Data Bank (Rutgers University)
Information about past currencies, exchange rates, prices and wages.

Oxford images

Honey jar (Valencia, c. 1700-1750; Ashmolean Museum, WA.OA166)

Online citation & full-text databases, & image resources

Text-based resources


  • Art Full Text (including Art Abstracts)
    Covers publications 1984 – present. Abstracts available from 1994. Full text coverage varies with journal title. Wide-ranging index to Western-language journal articles, book reviews and images in mainstream archaeology, architecture, conservation and  "fine" and "decorative" arts periodicals. All geographical areas and all periods (ancient – contemporary).

  • Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals
    Covers publications 1830s  – present. Index to a huge number of Western-language journal articles and book/exhibition catalogue reviews on architecture, historic preservation and urban design. All geographical areas and all periods.

  • Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles)
    NOTE: Covers publications ca. 1975-2007 only.
    Index to Western-language journal articles, book reviews, monographs, dissertations, essays and exhibition catalogues on (mostly) European and N. American art and architectural history, ca. 300 C.E. - present. Includes tables of content. Conservation is also included; NOTE: History of Photography is excluded.

  • Iter Bibliography
    Database of more than 1.1 million citations for secondary source material about the European Middle Ages and Renaissance, 400-1700.

   Dictionaries & encyclopedias

  • Biographical Dictionary of Sculptors in Britain 1660-1851 (Henry Moore Institute, Leeds)
    Database originating with the 2009 publication. Updated to include new sculptors, additional biographical information, new works & and updated bibliography.

  • Catholic Encyclopedia
    Comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and related information.  Originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes, this is the online version of the 1907 edition 
    International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA)
    Clearing house for electronic resources concerning the visual arts of the Middle Ages, in Europe and the Mediterranean region.

  • Oxford-Grove Dictionary of Art (Oxford Art Online)
    Full-text extended essays (and bibliographies) on most aspects of the art world. Frequent updates. All geographical areas and all periods.


  • ARTFL (University of Chicago)
    Full-text French literature database (Trésors de la langue française). Covers texts 12th century - present.
    * The complete on-line version of the first edition of Diderot and d'Alembert's Encyclopédie, with Panckoucke's 4-volume Supplément à l'Encyclopédie
    * George D. McKee's The Image of France -- an index of the official documentation of printed imagery and photographs authorized for publication in France 

    * Selected Salon criticism.

  • Filippo Baldinucci’s Vocabolario Toscano dell'Arte del Disegno
    Electronic version of Filippo Baldinucci’s Vocabolario toscano dell,arte del disegno ...: con la notizia de, nomi e qualità delle gioie, metalli, pietre dure, marmi, pietre tenere, sassi, legnami, colori, strumenti, et ogn, altra materia, che servir possa, tanto alla costruzione di edificj e loro ornato, quanto alla stessa pittura e scultura (Firenze: Santi Franchi, 1691). An art- and architecture-focused precursor to the Vocabolario della Crusca, Baldinucci’s dictionary is an excellent place for research into the history of Italian art and technology terminology, especially terms relating to practices and techniques.

  • BIVIO (Biblioteca Virtuale Online)
    Digital versions of key  works by Italian C16th exiles. Items of relevance for art historical research include Michelangelo Biondo’s Della nobilissima pittura, and Cesare Ripa’s Iconologia.

  • Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard
    Enhanced PDF versions (searchable and downloadable) of the CRLB. Files link to records in the RKD image database, allowing for the publication of bibliographic data and provenance information that were not available at the time of print publication of the CRLB. The image records also contain color images, improving on the black and white illustrations used in the orignal CRLB. Images of copies mentioned but were not illustrated in the printed volumes.

  • Early English Books Online
    Digital facsimile page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales & British North America & works in English printed elsewhere from 1473-1700. Includes (for example) architectural treatises, painting manuals & guidebooks.

  • Eighteenth Century Collections Online
    Works published in the UK & elsewhere during the C18th. Includes books, pamphlets, essays, broadsides, etc., mostly in English but also in other languages.

  • Vasari's Le vite (Lives of the Artists)
    Incomplete online version of Giorgio Vasari’s 1550 edition of Le vite: Le vite dei più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori italiani, da Cimabue in sino ai tempi nostri: descritte in lingua Toscana, da Giorgio Vasari, pittore Aretino. Con una sua utile & necessaria introduzzione a le arti loro (Firenze: Lorenzo Torrentino, 1550), in unabridged English translation.


  • ARTstor Union collection of image collections worldwide. Approaching 1,000,000 images covering all periods, all geographic areas and all types of art, architecture and archaeology as well as other subject areas in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Hisitory of Medicine and Science. Contributing collections include libraries, museums and archives, including the Bodleian’s Western Manuscripts and Incunabula collection. All periods, all geographic areas.
    NOTE: You may be asked to confirm this as a Trusted Site. Click the  "YES" button several times to confirm access.

  • Bridgeman Education
    300,000+ images of objects from museums, galleries and private collections, as well as buildings and monuments. Images cover visual culture worldwide, from pre-History to the present day. Media covered include photography, fine art, engravings, sculpture, architecture, the decorative arts, artefacts and applied arts. It addresses the interests of such disciplines as art, architecture, archaeology, anthropology, & ethnography, history, science & medicine. All periods, all geographic areas.

  • Census of Antique Works of Art Known in the Renaissance
    Materials included (text and image) centre on the reception of antiquity during the Renaissance. The antique monuments known in the Renaissance, together with the related Renaissance documents, in the form of texts and images, are provided; also related information about locations, persons and periods as well as bibliographic data.

  • Fondazione Zeri - Fototeca (University of Bologna) Access to the photographic collection (ca. 200,000 images) assembled by art historian and connoisseur Fererico Zeri. The photographs document mainly Italian art, not only located in Italy but also elsewhere.
  • Iconclass (Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie [RKD], The Hague)
    Iconclass is a classification system designed for art and iconography. While theoretically applicable to all artistic periods, it tends most to be associated with medieval and early modern studies. Print volumes associated with Iconclass are at the Sackler Library.

  • Rembrandt Database (RKD, The Hague)
    Texts, high-resolution images and other research data on paintings by Rembrandt or attributed to him, either now or in the past.

  • Répertoire des peintures françaises des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles en Allemagne (REPFALL)
    Online catalogue of French 17th and 18th century paintings in German collections.

  • Répertoire des tableaux italiens dans les collections publiques françaises (XIIIe-XIXe siècles) (RETIF)
    Online catalogue of 13th – 19th century Italian paintings in French public. 

  • Rijksstudio (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)
    125,000 high-resolution images of works in the Rijksmuseum.