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Art Research Guide: Gather Background Information & Identify Keywords

This guide was developed to help you get started researching art topics using Bentley Library resources and services.

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To find more titles of interest and please Ask a Librarian who can recommend resources for your specific topic 

Brainstorm Keywords & Construct a Search

Think about the information you are searching for and brainstorm a list of the various keywords that describe your topic.  What words or combinations of words will retrieve the specific information that you need?  As you retrieve information take note of any new keywords or subject terms to use in your research.

For example you might search using:

The Name of the Artist

  • Monet
  • Picasso
  • "J. M. W. Turner"
  • "John Singer Sargent"

The Title of the Work

  • "La Japonaise"
  • "The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit"
  • "The Slave Ship"

Country, Region, or Place Name

  • Japan
  • "United States" or America
  • Adirondacks
  • "New England"

Subjects, Themes, Time Periods

  • war
  • motherhood
  • slavery or abolition
  • "gilded age"

Movements, Theories, Schools

  • impressionism
  • cubism
  • orientalism
  • "pop art"
  • "Ecole de Paris"

Subject Guide

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Stephen Tracey
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