Images, Illustrations, Reproductions

The aim of this guide is to help you find pictures on the Internet and in print. Art and architecture are emphasized, but many Web sites, print indexes, and illustrated books covering other subjects are included. For more images of various subjects, click on the tutorial, “Finding Images on the Web,” or one of its categories:  advertisements, arts, illuminated manuscripts, photography, portraits, public domain collections, sciences, and various subjects including costumes, cartoons, international signs, mythology, and typography.


Image Databases

The databases listed here are restricted for use by Boston University students, faculty, and staff.  Unrestricted image collections can be found below under Web.

“With millions of images dating back more than 100 years, AP Images is one of the world’s largest collections of historical and contemporary imagery. The AP Images collection is constantly updated and includes entertainment, fashion, news and sports coverage from The Associated Press and a variety of content partners…View or print the full story details.”  Use Advanced Search/Editorial to link to the  Historical/Bettmann Archive, “a collection of 19 million photographs and images, some going back to the United States Civil War and including some of the best known U.S. historic images. The Archive also includes many images from Europe and elsewhere.”

“The ARTstor Digital Library is a nonprofit resource that provides more than one million digital images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and sciences with an accessible suite of software tools for teaching and research. Our community-built collections comprise contributions from outstanding international museums, photographers, libraries, scholars, photo archives, and artists and artists’ estates.”  Provides subject guides printable as handouts on 23 topics.  List of Collections.  Also viewable by Geography, Classification, and Featured Group.

AskART Academic
The database covers over 200,000 artists. The original  focus was on American artists from the early 16th-Century through the present; in 2007, international artists’ auction records were added. Summaries are provided for each artist: Dates, states, methods, biographies, subjects for which best known; literature in which they are referenced, and the auction lots sold and unsold of their works as well as their museum references and what might be available for sale from dealers or individuals. The image gallery represents a range of the artist’s work.

Berg fashion library.
This database is a portal providing fully cross-searchable access to the Berg content collections, including the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. It is international in scope and covers the disciplines of anthropology, art history, history, sociology, geography, folklore, museum studies, theatre, and cultural studies as well as fashion and textiles.

Birds of North America Online
“BNA Online contains image and video galleries showing plumages, behaviors, habitat, nests and eggs, and more. And most online BNA accounts now feature recordings of the songs and calls of their species…”

Cumulus Image Database.
Department of the History of Art and Architecture, Boston University.  The catalog currently has over 60,000 history of art & architecture images

This resource contains “a wide range of materials—from documentaries and field notes to written ethnographies and reference works…Thematic areas include: family and race, material culture, language and culture, kinesthetics, body language, food and foraging, cooking, economic systems, social stratification and status, caste systems and slavery, male and female roles, kinship and families, political organization, conflict and conflict resolution, religion and magic, music and the arts, culture and personality, marriage, gender, and family roles.”

Grove art online
This online edition of the Dictionary of Art provides a separate searchable and browsable  image collection.

This online medical images collection is searchable and browsable by specialty and by source (mainly atlases).

Princeton Index of Christian Art

“The Internet database presently contains nearly 80,000 work of art records which are accompanied by over one-hundred thousand images in color and black and white.”



Indexes to Images in Periodical Articles

In the first search box, type “illustration” and change the field (box on right) to “Subject.” In the second box, type the title of the art work and change the field (box on the right) to “Subject.” In the third box, type in the last name of the artist.  Art Full Text and Art Index Retrospective can be search simultaneously by clicking on “Choose Databases” and checking both.

Art index retrospective (H.W. Wilson)
For Art Reproductions (picture only–no text). Enter keyword or subject in the first search box.  In the second search box, type “reproduction” and change the field to “Document Type.”  For Illustrations (figures in article texts), in the first search box type “illustration” and change the field (box on right) to “Subject.”  In the second box, type the title of the art work and change the field (box on the right) to “Subject.” In the third box, type in the last name of the artist.  Art Full Text and Art Index Retrospective can be search simultaneously by clicking on “Choose Databases” and checking both.

Note: Illustrations (figures in articles). Choose Cited Reference Search. Enter keyword, e.g., “shipwreck,” in and change Cited Author to Cited Work. Note “ill” in volume column. Click Finish Search to find citations to the articles containing the illustrations. Click the Find@BU button for the articles or call numbers for the journals. Use a search engine or imagebase to look on the Web for other reproductions.



These selected Web sites are grouped according to what they do: the “Site Indexes” provide searchable and browsable subject access to a very large number of Web sites and Web pages. The “Metasites” provide lists of links either grouped by subject or arranged alphabetically. The “Specialized Image Collections” are searchable and/or browsable databases, sometimes called imagebases, created by individuals or by organizations such as museums.

l. Site Indexes

Yahoo! – Arts

Yahoo!Inc. Yahoo! indexes a huge number of Web sites and pages. Choose the option to search all of Yahoo! In the search box type in title and artist, e.g., “Water Lilies Monet.” Yahoo! ranks the results so the links most relevant to your search will display first. Yahoo! – Arts:Artists also is browsable by categories for Architects, Illustrators, Painters, Photographers, Printmakers, and Sculptors as well as by alphabetical lists.

2. Metasites

Art History: Image Resources (general)Lists of ArtistsPrints and Photography

Chris Witcombe, Art History Department, Sweet Briar College. This frequently updated site provides links to specialized image sites listed by art historical period and to many of the major image sites such as Yahoo!’s Artists database.

Digital Librarian: Images

Margaret Vail Anderson, a librarian in Cortland, N.Y. This site provides an alphabetical list of links to sites containing images of a variety of wonderful things including viruses, wildflowers, daguerreotypes, history of the American West, medicine, posters, presidential and first lady portraits from the Library of Congress, Life magazine, NASA, and the Yankees. Many links are to sites of photographs, documents, manuscripts, and book texts and plates. Annotations provided for some sites.

Image Collections and Online Art

Maintained currently by Patrick Young, University of Michigan, Art History Department. Created by Andrew Midkiff as part of his “Mother of All Art History Link Pages”. Sites are grouped by subject: photography, general, Africa, Americas, etc.

3. Selected Specialized Image Collections

American Memory: Photographs, Prints, & Drawings

Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Noteworthy are the collections of thousands of photographs of Americana, especially the 4,000 panoramic photographs taken between 1851 and 1991.

The AMICA Library

Art Museum Images from Cartography  Associates.  From the collections of 22 U.S. museums.  Images are also accessible via BU Libraries Search: type in artist name or artwork title and refine the results by clicking on “Images” under “Other Resource Types.”

ArtLex: Dictionary of Visual Art Terminology

Michael Delahunt, Sonoran Sky Elementary School, Scottsdale, Arizona. Includes 2,600 art and art-related terms with many illustrations and links to images, artist pages, and other relevant Web sites. Alphabetical index and list of “shortcuts” to broad subjects, e.g., ceramics.

Boston (Mass.) and Its Neighborhoods: Images

Donald Altschiller and Ruth Thomas, Boston University Libraries. List of sites containing images of Boston in art, architecture, and photography.

Carol Gerten’s Fine Art–A Virtual Art Museum

Hundreds of images are presented with thumbnails providing title, date, medium, and image size. The artists database can be searched by an alphabetical name index or by a nationality/time index. The Featured Artists are represented by more than five images and have biographical sketches from Microsoft’s online Encarta Encyclopedia; these artists also are noted in the alphabetical name index. Renaissance through Modern.  Images added between 1996 and 2006.

Census of Antique Works of Art and Architecture Known in the Renaissance.

Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Two databases: Antique Monuments and Renaissance Documents. Also searchable by Location, Person, Date, Style, Inscription, and Bibliography.

de Young: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Art Imagebase

Click on Advanced Search to search collections by keyword, artist, country, and period. The Collections include western, African and Oceanic art with particular strength in American art.

Europeana (see Wikipedia for more information)


Explore Art

Getty Center. Information about art in general with specific attention to the Getty collections.

Getty Search Gateway (more than 4,600 Open Content Images)  Filter by Type, Topics, Names, Places, Sources.  See also Getty Collections.

Google Art Project (see Wikipedia for more information)


Icon Browser

Gioacchino La Vecchia, Computer Science Department, Pisa University, Italy. Searchable archive of icons in the public domain.


Foundation for the Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologicae Classicae (LIMC).  This database provides images from LIMC.  Please note:  “For copyright reasons the access to the images is restricted to images from institutions which have given permission for inclusion in this database.”

NYPL Digital Gallery.

New York Public Library’s searchable database of 275,000 photographs and manuscripts from its collections. Also browsable by names and subjects.


Architecture Slide Library, University of California at Berkeley. Visual online catalog of architectural slides. Currently, about 20,000 thumbnail images with descriptions are searchable by Personal Names, Object Titles, Locations, Subject Terms, or Abbreviations. Searches also can be refined by selecting a Period or Topic.


This site has hundreds of images of Italian sculpture and European architecture searchable by keyword or browsable by indexes.

Web Gallery of Art

Emil Kren and Daniel Marx. Contains more than 3,500 images of European paintings and sculptures done between 1200 and 1700. The collection covers Renaissance art from its Byzantine and Gothic beginnings to its Mannerist evolution. Searchable by author, time-line, school, form, type, title, or text. Provides an alphabetical list of artists and an Artist Index.

World Heritage List

UNESCO. Images and descriptions of over 700 protected cultural and natural sites worldwide arranged alphabetically by country. Click on Criteria for more information about the project and sites.


Indexes to Print Sources

These titles, listed in call number order within categories, are available in the collections of Mugar Memorial Library or its branches. They provide references to books, periodicals, and catalogs where illustrations of works of art and pictures of people, places, and things may be found. Sources that indicate color illustrations are noted. Only first author names are given in the citations.

1. Art in General

CONTEMPORARY ART AND ARTISTS: AN INDEX TO REPRODUCTIONS, by Pamela Parry, 1978. Excludes architecture. References to books published between 1940 to mid-1970’s. Color illustrations noted.
Storage 6490 P3234

BLACK ARTIST IN AMERICA: AN INDEX TO REPRODUCTIONS, comp. Dennis Thomison. From the colonial period to the present. Arranged by artist. Books, periodicals, and exhibition catalogs through 1990. Color illustrations noted.
Mugar Library N 6538 N5 T46 1991

MARBURGER INDEX: INVENTORY OF ART IN GERMANY: USERS’ MANUAL, ed. Bildarchiv Foto Marburg (in English). Useful in accessing about 500,000 photographs taken between 1950 and 1976 and reproduced on microfiche which are arranged alphabetically by city, then museum, and collection. Includes architecture, painting, sculpture, and crafts in Germany from pre- and early history to modern times. Check microfiche in Current Periodicals Area for Mugar Memorial Library holdings and the index.
Mugar Current Periodicals Reference N 6861 M353 1985

ART IN LIFE [magazine], by Jane Clapp, 1959. Index to reproductions of paintings and graphic arts and selected photographs of architecture, sculpture, decorative arts, and portraits from the November 23, 1936 issue through 1956. One alphabetical list of artists, titles, and subjects.
Mugar Library N 7525 C55

ART IN TIME [magazine], by Patricia Havlice, 1970. Index to all the pictures in the Art sections from 1923 through 1969. Arranged in one alphabetical list by names of artists and titles of works.
Mugar Library N 7525 F70

INDEX TO ART REPRODUCTIONS IN BOOKS, by Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library. References to 65 books published between 1956 and 1971. Indexes to artists and titles. Color illustrations noted.
Storage N 7525 H48 1974

INDEX TO TWO-DIMENSIONAL ART WORKS, 2 vols, by Yala Korwin, 1981. References to 250 books published between 1960 and 1977. Vol. l: Artist Index. Vol. 2: Title-Subject Index.
Storage N 7525 K67

Mugar Library N 8079.5 R63 1994

EARTH SCALE ART: A BIBLIOGRAPHY, DIRECTORY OF ARTISTS, AND INDEX OF REPRODUCTIONS, by Patricia Havlice. Entries for 32 international artists include bibliographies and locations for reproductions of their works.
Mugar Library N 6494 .E27 H37 1984

WOMEN IN THE FINE ARTS: A BIBLIOGRAPHY AND ILLUSTRATION GUIDE, by Janet Anderson. Worldwide; since the Renaissance. Bibliography arranged by author then publication type: general, periodicals, exhibition catalogues, newspapers. Artist Index. Color illustrations noted.
Mugar Library N 8354 .A47 1991

2. Architecture

INDEX TO ITALIAN ARCHITECTURE: A GUIDE TO KEY MONUMENTS AND REPRODUCTION SOURCES, by Edward Teague. Citations to illustrations of 1,800 works in 80 books.
Mugar Library NA 111 T4 1992

WORLD ARCHITECTURE INDEX: A GUIDE TO ILLUSTRATIONS, by Edward Teague. References 7,200 architectural works reproduced in 100 books. Indexes: site, architect, type, work.
Storage NA 202 W67 1991

See also “Illustrations in Books” in the Architecture Research Guide.

3. Costume

COSTUME INDEX:A SUBJECT INDEX TO PLATES AND TO ILLUSTRATED TEXT, by Isabel Munro, 1937. By period, country. Indexes 942 books plus National Geographic Magazine.
Storage Z 5691 F37

4. Manuscripts

Storage ND 2920 O9 1977

INSULAR AND ANGLO-SAXON ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS: AN ICONOGRAPHICAL CATALOGUE c.A.D. 625 TO 1100, by Thomas Ohlgren. Descriptions of 229 manuscripts. Indexes to the manuscripts by city, library, and shelfmark; to authors and titles; to places of origin and provenance; to dates; and to iconographic contents arranged alphabetically by subject from Aaron to Zodiac.
Mugar Library ND 3128 O45 1986

5. Paintings

CHECKLIST OF PAINTERS, c1200-1994 REPRESENTED IN THE WITT LIBRARY, COURTAULD INSTITUTE OF ART, LONDON, 2nd ed. Index by artist to a microfiche collection of 1,700,000 photographs and reproductions of drawings and paintings by 66,000 artists working in the European or Western tradition. Microfiche sets are available at the Fine Arts Department, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA.
Mugar Library ND 35 W5 1995

INDEX TO REPRODUCTIONS OF EUROPEAN PAINTINGS: A GUIDE TO PICTURES IN MORE THAN THREE HUNDRED BOOKS, by Isabel Munro, 1956. Index to artists, titles of works of art, and broad subjects. Color illustrations noted.
Mugar Library ND 45 F56

WORLD PAINTING INDEX, by Patricia Havlice, 1977, First supplement, 1973-1980; Second supplement, 1980-1989; Third supplement, 1990-1999. References to books published between 1940 and 1989. Part I: Bibliography of Books. Part II: Paintings by Unknown Artists. Part III: Painters and Their Works. Part IV: Titles of Works and Their Painters. Color illustrations noted.
Mugar Library ND 45 H38

INDEX TO REPRODUCTIONS OF AMERICAN PAINTINGS, by Isabel Munro, 1948, Suppl., 1964. References 500 books and 300 exhibition catalogues. Index to artists, titles of works of art, and broad subjects.
Storage ND 205 F48

Storage ND 205 S575

INDEX TO REPRODUCTIONS OF PAINTINGS BY TWENTIETH CENTURY CHINESE ARTISTS, by Ellen Laing. Alphabetical arrangement of names of about 3,500 “traditional-style” artists with lists of works. Reproductions cited in 264 monographs, books, journals, and catalogues published between 1920 and early 1980’s.
Mugar Library ND 1045 L35 1984

INDEX OF EARLY CHINESE PAINTERS AND PAINTINGS, T’ANG, SUNG, AND YUAN, by James Cahill, c. 1980. Arranged by dynasty, then artist.
Mugar Library ND 1043.3 C3

Storage ND 1430 R6 1992

VICTORIAN ART REPRODUCTIONS IN MODERN SOURCES: A BIBLIOGRAPHY, by Kristine Garrigan. 5,000 works by 950 artists in 84 books and catalogs. Oils, watercolors, drawings. Color illustrations noted.
Mugar Library N6767.5.V52 G37 1991

6. Photographs

PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS INDEX III: A SUBJECT GUIDE TO PHOTO ANTHOLOGIES, by Martha Moss, 1980, Suppl. 1985. About 50 books ranging in date from 1946-1982. Separate indexes for photographers, subjects, portraits. Color illustrations noted.
Mugar Library TR 199 M67 2006

PHOTOGRAPHY INDEX:A GUIDE TO REPRODUCTIONS, by Pamela Parry, 1979. Indexes: chronological for anonymous photographs; photographers; and subject/title. Photographs from the 1820’s into the 1970’s. Color illustrations noted.
Mugar Library TR 199 P37

7. Portraits

A.L.A. [AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION] PORTRAIT INDEX, ed. William Lane, 1906. Indexes reproductions of about 40,000 portraits in about 1,100 works. International persons of reknown; antiquity to about 1900.  Online: v. 1 v.2 v.3

8. Prints

PRINT INDEX: A GUIDE TO REPRODUCTIONS, comp. Pamela Parry. Prints of 2,100 printmakers from the early eighteenth century through the mid-1970’s illustrated in 100 English-language books. Indexes: Artists with alphabetical list of print tiles under names; Subject and Title. International. Color illustrations noted.
Storage NE 90 P17 1983

AMERICAN PRINTMAKERS 1880-1945:AN INDEX TO REPRODUCTIONS AND BIOCRITICAL INFORMATION, by Lynn Williams. Indexes: Printmaker with alphabetical list of prints under publication type–dictionaries, art books and catalogs, and monographs; Subjects or themes. Color illustrations noted.
Storage NE 507 W53 1993

Mugar Library NE 508 B76 1999

9. Sculpture

SCULPTURE INDEX, 3 vols, by Jane Clapp, 1970. International, all periods. References over 950 books. Single alphabetical index of sculptors and titles of works. Color illustrations noted.
Mugar Library NB 36 F70

10. Various Subjects

PICTURE RESEARCHER’S HANDBOOK: AN INTERNATIONAL GUIDE TO PICTURE SOURCES AND HOW TO USE THEM, 6th ed, by Hilary Evans. Provides annotated entries for over 1,400 picture collections throughout the world. Indexes: Subject, Places, People, Sources.
Visual Arts N 4000 E8 1996

ILLUSTRATION INDEX, 8 vols., published irregularly. Covers multitude of subjects pictured mainly in magazines, e.g., National Geographic, Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated published between 1950 and 1998. Check BU Libraries Search for exact call numbers and locations. Editions cover different spans of time. All editions include costumes. Furniture, wildlife, art works and individual persons included since 1972. INDEX TO ILLUSTRATIONS by Jessie Ellis, 1966 (XNC 996 E62) is similar and includes encyclopedias.
Mugar Library N 7525 varies

INDEX TO ILLUSTRATIONS OF ANIMALS AND PLANTS, by Beth Clewis. Mainly refers to color or black-and-white photographs in books published in the 1980’s, for example, Ducks of North America and the Northern Hemisphere, A Field Guide to Mushrooms, and Natural History of the Primates. Color illustrations noted.
Science Engineering Reference  QH 46.5 C54 1991


Additional titles may be found in Chapter 19: “Visual Resources and Subject Indexing Projects” and Chapter 29: “References on Subjects and Symbols in Art” in Art Information by Lois Swan Jones (XN 85 J64 1990).

Books of Illustrations

These resources, arranged by call number, are available in Mugar Memorial Library. They provide illustrations of works of art and pictures of people, places, and things. The category, “Other Sources,” refers to types of art publications that are well-illustrated.

FACTS ON FILE VISUAL DICTIONARY, by Jean-Claude Corbeil. Black-and-white shaded drawings of subjects ranging from astronomy to symbols. Indexes: general, thematic, specialized.
Mugar Reference AG 250 C63 1986

DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN PORTRAITS:4045 PICTURES OF IMPORTANT AMERICANS FROM EARLIEST TIMES TO THE BEGINNING OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, ed. Hayward Cirker, 1967. Includes presidents, vice-presidents, first ladies into the 1960’s.
Mugar Folio N 7593 F67

LEXICON ICONOGRAPHICUM MYTHOLOGIAE CLASSICAE, 1981-1997. Plate volumes of illustrations of ancient Greek and Roman mythological figures as represented in ancient art.
Mugar Reference N 7660 L49 and online
Iconiclimc. Foundation for the Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologicae Classicae (LIMC).  This database provides images from LIMC.  Please note:  “For copyright reasons the access to the images is restricted to images from institutions which have given permission for inclusion in this database.”


HISTORICAL ART INDEX, A.D. 400-1650, by Mercedes Rochelle. Organized by subject: people and events represented in art through the early 20th century. Bibliography.
Mugar Library N 8210 R6 1989

ELEMENTS OF ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN: A PHOTOGRAPHIC SOURCEBOOK, by Ernest Burden. Chapters on style; composition; materials; components; forms, e.g., doorways, interlaced arches. Numerous photographs of architectural details.
Mugar Library NA 2750 B864 2000

Mugar Reserves NC 760 1991

Mugar Folio NC 780 G65 2004 and online

ART SOURCE BOOK: SUBJECT-BY-SUBJECT GUIDE TO PAINTINGS & DRAWINGS, by Nick Rowling. Human life, work, leisure, at home, cities, landscape, belief, etc.
Mugar Folio ND 1288 R69 1987

ILLUSTRATED BARTSCH: A COMPLETE PICTORIAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF EUROPEAN PRINTS. Printmaking between 1400 and 1700. Picture atlases and commentary volumes. Check Boston University Libraries online catalog for Library’s holdings and call numbers.
Mugar Folio NE 90 B213 or online

FINE ART REPRODUCTIONS OF OLD AND MODERN MASTERS: A COMPREHENSIVE ILLUSTRATED CATALOG OF ART THROUGH THE AGES, New York Graphic Society, 1965, Suppl. 1967. Color reproductions included. Indexes: subject; painter with titles of works listed under name.
Mugar Librasry NE 1860 N4 F65

Mugar Reserves XR 836 R63 1992

BEST EDITORIAL CARTOONS OF THE YEAR, United States, annual, 1972, 1974-1982, 1984-2004+
Mugar Library E 839.5 B45

Other Sources: Publication Types

Publications such as corpus, oeuvre catalog, catalogue raisonne, exhibition catalog, museum catalog, iconographical dictionary, special subject encyclopedia or monograph on an artist usually contain many illustrations but they are not indexed–you must find the publication and look through it for the illustration you need. Here are some hints for searching BU Libraries Search:

If you need an illustration of a work by Picasso, you can search under the subject heading “Picasso”, then limit to words in subject heading “exhibitions”.

If you know the museum where the art work is located, search the catalog using the name of the museum as author; look through the list of titles for a publication covering the appropriate art historical period or geographical area.

If you need to find a picture of a period costume, search the catalog under the subject heading “costume” and limit to “encyclopedias” or “dictionaries”, or do a word search “costume encyclopedia.”

If you are looking for a “catalog” of an artist’s work or a museum, enter the name and “catalog*.”  The * will find both spellings: catalog and catalogue.

If you need assistance, ask for help at Mugar Memorial Library’s research desk or e-mail your question through our Ask-a-Librarian service.