About Iconography

The study of images and symbols; their identification, description, classification, and interpretation.

Searching the Library Catalog for Iconography

Explore the Library Catalog for books on your topic by searching for the following subjects:

  • animal imagery--symbolism
  • art and mythology
  • bible--pictures, illustrations
  • buddhist art and symbolism
  • catholic church and art
  • christian art and symbolism
  • emblems
  • hindu symbolism
  • holy spirit--symbolism
  • idols and images
  • islamic art and symbolism
  • jesus christ--art
  • jewish art and symbolism
  • mythology
  • saints--art
  • signs and symbols
  • symbolism in the bible
  • symbolism of numbers
  • symbolism in architecture
  • symbolism in art

Online Databases for Iconography Research

Explore the Library Web Site to locate journal articles with a specific iconographic theme.

Find Articles in a Database

Art Source (formerly Art Abstracts/Art Index Retrospective) - Indexes and abstracts hundreds of international arts journals; also indexes reproductions of work sof art that appear in periodicals. Updated monthly.

Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA) / International Bibliography of Art (IBA) - Includes Western art from the late antiquity to the present and contemporary art worldwide.

Interntional Medieval Bibliography - Updated quarterly. Provides a current bibliography of Medieval Studies for over 4,500 journals, conference proceedings, essay collections, Festschriften, and exhibition catalogs.

Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance - Provides bibliographic access to published materials pertaining to the Middle Ages and Renaissance (400-1700).

Find Online Journals

JSTOR - an extensive library of humanities journals available online.

Project Muse - complements JSTOR's holdings.

General Reference Sources

Oxford Art Online - aka Dictionary of Art - The most comprehensive art-historical reference work available. An exhaustive encyclopedia of art worldwide. Excellent coverage by country, culture, and religion. Bibliographies included.

Dictionary of Symbols in Western Art - Concise interpretation of symbols, saints, and other religious figures found in Western art.

Encylopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art - A comprehensive guide to biblical, mythological, and literary themes depicted in works of art.

Hidden Symbols in Art - Each chapter organized thematically, explains the significance and meaning of key symbols and figures in Western art.

Illustrated Dictionary of Symbols in Eastern and Western Art - Definitions of signs and symbols divided into the following categories: abstract signs, animals, artifacts, earth and sky, human body and dress, and plants

Nature and its Symbols - Organized by plants, flowers, fruits, land animals, flying animals, aquatic animals, and creatures of the imagination.

Symbols and Allegories in Art - Organized by time, man, space, and allegories.

Classical Mythology and Folklore

Gods and Heroes in Art - Arranged in four sections including gods, heroes, and divine beings from the Greek and Roman pantheon; characters from legends of the Trojan War and Homer's Odyssey, historical figures from Greece; and lastly historical figures from Rome.

Oxford Guide to Classical Mythology in the Arts, 1300-1990s - An encyolpedic catalog of art works from the early Renaissance to the present illustrating Greek and Roman mythology.

Christian Iconography

Gospel Figures in Art - Includes index of episodes, names, and apocryphal gospels.

Lives of the Saints - Arranged by feast day.

Old Testament Figures in Art - Arranged chronologically, includes an index of episodes and figures.

Oxford Companion to Christian Art and Architecture - Comprehensive alphabetical guide to Christian art and architecture.

Saints in Art - Arranged alphabetically, includes saints from the bible and the gospels.

Non-Western Iconography and Mythology

Dictionary of Buddhist and Hindu Iconography - An illustrated dictionary of Buddhist and Hindu iconographic terms including pronunciation, definitions, and recommended sources for further reading.

An Encylcopaedia of Hindu deities, demi-gods, godlings, demons, and heroes: with special focus on icongoraphic attributes - A heavily illustrated, alphabetical examination of Hindu gods.

The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs - A compilation of Tibetan symbols and motifs organized by genre, excellent illustrations.

Symbols of Japan: thematic motifs in art and design - Each chapter is a broad category then arranged alphabetically by terms. Beautifully illustrated.

Iconographic Indexes

Index Iconologicus - Alphabetical entries containing reproductions of art works, literary, bibliographic, and historical information. Covers primarily the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Index to Christian Art - Covers from early apostolic times up to A.D. 1400. The largest database of medieval art in existence with records for over 13,000 works of art. Provides an iconographic database that indexes images as well as textual information and bibliographies about the images.

Post-Biblical Saints Art Index - an index to saints who lived after the time period covered by the bible depicted in works of art.