Encyclopedias and Dictionaries, Multi-volume Surveys & Corpora

Resources marked with this symbol are restricted to Columbia affiliates.

Encyclopedias, Chronologies, & Dictionaries

(NOTE: Core art historical Encyclopedias, etc. are preceded by an asterisk)

*Architectural Publications Society. Dictionary of Architecture. (Online) 8 vols. in 5. (1852-92)
Avery Offsite AA31 Ar2

Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms. (Online-an option within Oxford Art Online) Ed. by Michael Clarke.

Dictionary of Japanese Art Terms. (bilingual) (1990)
Starr East Asian Reference NX80 .N53 1990

*Enciclopedia Dell'Arte Antica, Classica e Orientale. Ed. by R. Bianchi-Bandinelli, G. Beccati. 7 vols.;. v.8 Indici; v.9 Atlante dei Complessi Figurati, v.10-11 Atlante delle Forme Ceramiche, 2 vols. (1958-85) and suppls: 1st (1970) 1 vol; 2nd (1994) 2 vols.
Avery-Fine Arts Reference N31 En16 and N31 En161...

*Enciclopedia dell'Arte Medievale. Dir. by Angiola Maria Romanini. 12 vols. (1991-2002)
Avery-Fine Arts Reference N31 En163

*Encyclopedia of World Art. 15 vols., index and suppls: (1959-68) (1983) (1987)
Fine Arts Offsite N31 En19 (copies available in multiple locations)
Was the standard until the publication Grove Art Online (Dictionary of Art) {see 5.6 below}, but this set continues to be an invaluable encyclopedia, but simply not with current literature or interests.

Erlich, R.W. Chronologies in Old World Archaeology. 2 vol. (1992)
Avery-Fine Arts N5330 Eh8821 (copies available in multiple locations)

*Grove Art Online. (Online: an option within Oxford Art Online)
Avery Reference N31 D56  (1996) 34 vols) as Dictionary of Art.
The standard scholarly art historical encyclopedia.

Grove Encyclopedia of American Art. (Online)
Avery-Fine Arts N6505 .G76 2011

Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts. (Online)
Avery AK30 G93 (2006)
Contains over 3,000 entries covering thousands of years of decorative arts production throughout western and non-western cultures. Includes entries on Alvar Aalto, Charles and Ray Eames,  Navajo blankets, etc. . Also included are hundreds of entries on the qualities and historical uses of materials, concise definitions on art form and styles, and in-depth articles discussing the history of armor, jewelry, furniture, textiles, and ceramics.

International encyclopaedia for the Middle Ages. (Online: a choice within Brepols' offerings)
Considered an update to Lexikon des Mittelalters, providing original articles that cover the time period 300-1500 CE, in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Lexikon des Mittelalters. (Online: a choice within Brepols' offerings)
The standard encyclopaedia for medieval studies. It deals with all branches of Medieval Studies and covers the period from 300 to 1500 AD/CE for the whole of Europe and parts of the Middle East and North Africa. Users can perform automatic bibliographic searches in the International Medieval Bibliography Online.

Mayer, Ralph. Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques. (1991)
Avery Reference ND1260 M45111
Explains the technical process of creating visual art.

Oxford Art Online. (Online)
Includes: Grove Art Online, Oxford companion to Western Art, Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms.

Oxford Classical Dictionary. (Online) Ed. by Simon Hornblower and Anthony Spawforth (Online: 3rd ed. 2002) (Print: 4th ed. (2012) Butler Ancient/Medieval Reading Room & Butler Digital Humanities Center DE5 .09 2012)
Covers the Greco-Roman world. It includes articles and definitions regarding literature, art, philosophy, law, biography, mythology, science, geography, daily life, and broad cultural and historical trends.

Oxford Companion to Archaeology. (Online)
Avery-Fine Arts N5330 Ox2 (1996)

Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization. (2nd ed. 2014) (Online)
Avery-Fine Arts N33 Ox211 (2003)

Oxford companion to Western Art. (Online-an option within Oxford Art Online)
Avery-Fine Arts N33 Ox211 (2001)
Ed. by Hugh Brigstocke.

Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium.  (Print:2001;released Online:2005) Ed. by Alexander P. Kazhdan. Contains more than 5,000 searchable entries covering all aspects of Byzantine history and civilization from the 4th through the 15th centuries, with special depth in subjects such as bureaucratic titles and fiscal terms, urban life, and rural economy.

Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. (Print:2001;released Online:2005) Ed. by Donald B. Reford. Contains 600 entries covering the prehistoric, predynastic, and dynastic phases of ancient Egypt within the context of its contiguous and sometimes conquering neighbors, tracing its history through the Islamic conquest of 642 CE, with the focus on dynastic Egypt. Treats all branches of Egyptology: archaeology, anthropology, architecture, linguistics, literary studies, epigraphy, papyrology, history, art history, religion, economics, ecology, geomorphology, and the life sciences.

Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East. 5 vols. (1997)
Avery-Fine Arts N5340 Ox2 (copies available in multiple locations)

Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican cultures. (Printed:2001;released Online:2006) Ed. by David Carrasco. Chronicles Pre-Hispanic, colonial, and modern Mesoamerica, defined as the lands stretching from Mexico to the southern tip of Central America. With more than 600 articles, it is invaluable for those interested in the rich heritage of this land. Encompassing the great civilizations of the pre-Columbian era (including the Olmec, Aztec, and Maya peoples) up through the colonial and postcolonial periods, the Encyclopedia covers art, archaeology, religious studies, anthropology, history, and historiography of the region in fully cross-referenced, signed articles by the leading scholars in the discipline.

Oxford Islamic Studies Online. (Online)
Ed. by John L. Esposito. Contains more than 5,000 encyclopedia articles as well as primary source documents, maps, images, and timelines. Comprehensive resource for the study of the history, people, politics, and cultures of the Islamic worlds.

Pauly-Wissowa. Brill's new Pauly. (Online)
Intended as an aid for the study of Greek and Roman culture and its multifaceted presence in all periods of European and, since the Early Modern period, world history.

  • Kleine-Pauly. 5 vols. (1964-1975)
    Avery Reference N31 P2811 (copies available in multiple locations)
  • Real-Encyclopaedie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft. 60 vols. +15 vol. suppl. (1894-1978)
    Avery Reference N31 P281 (copies available in multiple locations)
  • Index to Suppls.
    Avery Reference N31 M95 (copies available in multiple locations)
  • Neue Pauly (1996)
    Avery Reference N31 N39 (copies available in multiple locations)
    Best known by the editors' names. The standard classical encyclopaedia.
  • Volume 14+ of Neue Pauly (Rezeptions- und Wissenschafts-geschichte) is useful to not only Ancient historians, but also to historians of the Renaissance through the 18th Century.

Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites. (Online)
Avery Reference A31 P93
ed. Richard Stillwell, 1019 p. (1976). Summaries of excavation results with references to full reports. Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Glossary, maps, map indexes, illustrations.

Reallexikon zur Byzantinischen Kunst.
Avery-Fine Arts N6250 R22  (1963-to date)

Schmitt, Otto. Reallexikon zur Deutschen Kunstgeschichte. (Online)
Avery-Fine Arts N31 Sch5  (1937-)
Despite its title it is not restricted to Germany. For example: W. S. Heckscher's entry on "Emblem, Emblembuch" is authoritative. Covers Middle ages to 1850. Bibliographies at end of each article.


Occasionally there exists a published corpus of many or all known works in a given genre (e.g. Byzantine ivories). Two such corpora are exemplified here. Others may be found in the card catalog or CLIO by subject, or refer to appropriate subject bibliographies. Another category of corpora are catalogues raisonnes, which are published efforts to collocate the works of a single artist.  There is a website (the third item below) that has a database of published catalogues raisonnes and those in preparation.

Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum (CVA) (Online)
Avery Offsite AK 3800 ... (for exact call numbers see card catalog or CLIO) (1922-)
Summary guide: Avery AK 3800 In84
Photographic survey of classical vases arranged by country and collection. Index not yet published.

Critical and Historical Corpus of Florentine Painting. Over 20 vols. (1930-)
Avery-Fine Arts ND620 F66 0f22
Corpus of Renaissance Italian painting of Florence. Begun by Richard Offner, continued since 1984 by various scholars.

International Foundation for Art Research. Catalogues Raisonnes. (Online:as part of the IFAR website)
A database of published catalogues raisonnes and those in preparation.

Print Council of America search index to print catalogues raisonne. (Online).
An online version of The Print Council Index to Oeuvre-Catalogues of Prints by European and American Artists by Timothy A. Riggs, expanded and brought up-to-date by Lauren B. Hewes.