“What is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?”
To be perfectly honest, Oxford Art is not great on conversation; it’s more into telling you things rather than entering into discussion. But pictures it can do in spades. It has 6,000 of them, with links to 40,000 more. If you can’t find something out of that lot to go over the mantelpiece, your needs are probably rather esoteric.
Actually, these pictures and links are not there principally to assist in home furnishing. They illustrate one of the true wonders of art reference. It’s very, very big, with more than 20,000 articles about individual artists, and a similarly impressive number about subjects such as art movements, definitions of technical terms, and so on. All of which sounds horribly daunting.
The way they’ve made Oxford Art useful to those of us who might want a couple of paragraphs on Turner or Warhol, or a brief definition of Futurism, is by combining Grove Art – the big beast, dripping in scholarship – with some other resources, such as The Oxford Companion to Western Art, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms, both of which can answer a passing question without keeping you up all night.
Oxford Art also includes some neat timelines for homework or projects, and even some teaching notes on Modern Art and Ideas. All free for Westminster Libraries members, accessible anywhere you can reach the Internet.
“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”