Art: useful websites

This page lists useful, free resources for art. See databases for history of art or fine art for lists of key online sources purchased by the University to help you find information in these subjects.

Key sites

  • Art History Resources on the web
    A chronological and comprehensive list of sites.

  • Artlex
    ArtLex is an art dictionary on the web, with definitions for more than 3,600 terms used in discussing art / visual culture, along with thousands of supporting images, pronunciation notes, great quotations and cross-references.

  • Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951
    This is the first comprehensive study of sculptors, related businesses and trades investigated in the context of creative collaborations, art infrastructures, professional networks and cultural geographies. The database includes information on c.3,500 sculptors, c.10,000 related businesses, c.15,000 objects, c.1,300 exhibitions, c.700 other events, c.125 art societies, c.125 art schools and c.16,500 locations.

Guides and tutorials

  • Internet for Art and Design
    One of a series of tutorials written for the Intute Virtual Training Suite. This tutorial aims to improve Internet information skills, knowledge of key Internet sites, Internet search skills and critical thinking skills. Although this particular tutorial was written for FE rather than HE there is much that is valuable in it. The 'see the sites' section provides a useful listing of sites relevant to art.

  • Evaluating websites: a guide
    Hints on assessing the reliability of information you find on the Internet.

  • The web
    A brief guide to finding information which includes links to the main search engines.

  • Finding information in arts and history
    Open University web course to help you to identify and use information in Arts and History, whether for your work, study or personal purposes

General art-related sites

  • Artists' Papers Register
    A location register of the papers of artists, designers and craftspeople held in publicly accessible collections in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

  • ArtSource
    Although a commercial site, this is compiled by an ex-art librarian and sites listed are carefully selected.

  • British Library Art Website
    A collection of useful websites for art and architecture chosen by the British Library

  • Getty Research Institute Collecting and Provenance Research Resources
    Access to Getty Provenance Index┬« databases which contain 1.5 million records taken from source material such as archival inventories, auction catalogues and dealer stock books. 


  • RIBA -
    The RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) site gives access to their catalogue, and to a page of links for architecture. The site mainly focuses on contemporary architecture.

Contemporary art

  • Axis
    Axis is a national contemporary visual arts service providing information about artists and makers living/working in Britain to a national and international audience. It is the largest interactive database of contemporary British art on the Internet. It also provides a good set of links to other sites.

  • e-flux Journal
    e-flux is an international network for visual art professionals.

  • New Exhibitions of Contemporary Art
    Comprehensive and up-to date listings of current exhibitions in the UK.

Galleries, museums and art libraries

  • WWW Virtual Library - Art Galleries
    This site provides links to the major galleries round the world.

  • The Art Museum Network
    200 major art museums have collaborated to provide a single site with information about collections and museums.

  • Culture 24
    Over 2500 museums and galleries in the UK with good search facilities.

  • Tate Research Services
    Based at the Tate Britain, the Tate Research Services enable researchers to access Tate library and archive collections. Consult their website for more information and to search their catalogue. 

  • National Art Library
    The National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum is the main external source for art history students. You can find information about the library, search their catalogue, and find out how to get a reader's ticket on their website. 

  • National Gallery Catalogues
    The National Gallery is making selected extracts from their new catalogues available online.

  • Westminster Reference Library
    The Westminster Reference Library has a collection recognised as one of national significance. It consists of over 40,000 volumes covering painting and drawing, sculpture, installations and other aspects of art and design. Consult their website for information about the library, including how to join, and to search their catalogue.


  • Visual Arts Data Service (VADS)
    Image database of visual arts collections comprising over 100,000 images which are freely available and copyright-cleared for use in learning, teaching and research in the UK. Collections include: African and Asian artists; Design and Romanesque Sculpture in Britain; the Tom Eckersley Archive and the Imperial War Museum collections.

  • Metropolitan Museum Of Art
    The museum provides Open Access for Scholarly Content.  This means any of the images in their collection marked OASC may be used, free of charge, for any scholarly work.  Please see the FAQs here for further information.

  • Artcyclopedia
    Searchable by artist, title of work and individual galleries, this site provides links to works of art in various virtual museums round the world, providing images and catalogue information. You can also browse the database for genres, themes etc and there is a page of links.

  • Yale center for British art
    Online catalogue enabling seamless searching across the art collections and related library material. Has publication quality images of art objects in the public domain.

  • Your Paintings
    This website aims to show the entire UK national collection of oil paintings. There will be images of around 200,000 paintings when the project is complete. It is a joint initiative between the BBC, the Public Catalogue Foundation and participating collections and museums across the UK.

  • Web Gallery of Art
    The Web Gallery of Art is a virtual museum and searchable database of European painting and sculpture of the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque periods (1150-1800), currently containing over 11,600 reproductions. Commentaries on pictures, biographies of artists are available.

  • The Marburger Index
    A picture index of art and architecture containing over 2 million images on art and architecture in 13 European countries.

Organisations and institutions

  • Institute of International Visual Arts (inIVA)
    inIVA aims to promote the work of culturally-diverse artists. This site has a digital archive of images, text, audio and video. It also includes a link to their library catalogue.

  • LUX
    LUX is an arts agency which explores ideas around artists' moving image practice through exhibition, distribution, publishing, education and research. Includes LUX Online, a resource for British based artists' film and video. It contains articles, biographies, film clips and new writings.

  • National Art Library - Victoria and Albert Museum
    Includes a link to their catalogue.


Please note: our site descriptions are based on information available on the site described at the time it was evaluated.

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