Database Guides

Oxford Art Online

Oxford Art Online gives access to art resources including the Grove Art Online, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, and The Oxford Companion to Western Art. It includes biographical and subject information and a large range of images.

Searching for Information and Images

Oxford Art Online has both quick search and advanced search options. The quick search box can be found at the top right of the screen.

To use the advanced search follow the link under the quick search box and select which of the search options you would like to use: main search, image search, biography search or bibliography search.

  Search Strategies

You can use various search techniques within Oxford Art Online to help you find more accurate results.

  • put "speech marks" around your terms if you want to find a phrase; this will ensure the words are returned together:
  • use the Boolean search terms within your search i.e. the AND, OR, and NOT:
    • AND – narrows down the results by returning results that have all terms
    • OR – broadens out the results with results that have either term
    • NOT – narrows down the results by excluding the second term
    • Tip: use brackets to nest these together, for example (modern OR contemporary) AND sculpture
  • express your topic in different ways (e.g. for ceramics try pottery)
  • add the wildcard symbol * to the root of a word to find all words beginning with the letters in front of it. (e.g. paint* would find painting and painters at the same time)

To find out more about planning a search, creating search strategies and using different search techniques, explore our search techniques guide.

Using The Indexes

As well as using the main search boxes you can also browse and search the various indexes within Oxford Art Online. These can be accessed from under the main Oxford Art Online logo:

For example, you can look at all articles which are related to 'contemporary art':


On the main results page you get a list of entries relevant to your search with the title of the page, the start of some information, and the source it comes from.

You can use the filters on the left side to refine the results, or click on the title of an entry to access the main record. Please note that you will be taken to your search term within that record so you may have to scroll up to get to the start.

If the record includes any images they can be clicked to go to the main image record and get access to a larger version. The record may also contain links that can be followed and the image and related content tabs at the top can lead to other useful material.

At the top of each record there are print, email and cite links that you can use.

Please note the cite option does not give you reference suitable for RGU Harvard or Vancouver styles.


The images within Oxford Art Online are part of the Grove Art Online resource. Please note that they state the following about the images in this resource:

Grove Art Online is not an image provider and therefore cannot grant permissions or advise on issues of rights and usage. Please contact the image providers and copyright holders cited in the captions directly if you wish to use art images. Please see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice for more information.