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Guide to Iconography

This is a listing of electronic and print resources on Medieval & Renaissance Iconography.

All Titles


Electronic Resources: 


Index of Medieval Art


“The Index records works of art produced without geographical limitations from early apostolic times up to A.D. 1400 (extended in the case of the Morgan and Princeton Library projects to include this manuscript holdings up to the end of the sixteenth century). As is to be expected, there is a particular emphasis and focus on art of the western world. Seventeen different media are represented in the archive, and these include manuscripts, metalwork, sculpture,  painting, glass, and so forth.” 


BHA: Bibliography of the History of Art


“The Bibliography of the History of Art indexes and abstracts articles, art-related books, conference proceedings, dissertations, and art exhibition and dealer's catalogs. This extensive and comprehensive index covers European and American art from late antiquity to the present.”





Image Database.  Serves as a useful subject index to the Illustrated Bartsch, whose images are included.





Includes the Scholars Resource database and image collection with subject search capabilities. Use Advance Search with period delimiter for medieval subjects.


Digital Scriptorium

The Digital Scriptorium is an image database of medieval and renaissance manuscripts that unites scattered resources from many institutions into an international tool for teaching and scholarly research.  


The Electronic version of Henri Waal's printed classification system (see below).  See volume 7 for religious subjects.  Links to mss and other images.

Print Resources: General


 Davidson, Clifford. Iconography: A Checklist of Some Useful Sources for Scholars and Students of Medieval Art , Drama and Music. Kalamazoo: Western Michigan University, Medieval Institute, 2002.


Friedman, John Block. Medieval Iconography: A Research Guide, ed. John B. Friedman and Jessica M. Wegmann.   New York: Garland, 1998.

Art Ref. Nx449. F75 1998



Marle, Raimond van. Iconographie de l'Art Profane au Moyen-Age et à la Renaissance, et la Décoration des Demeures. La Haye: M. Nijhoff, 1931-32.

Art Ref. Folio N5970. M35.



Réau, Louis.  Iconographie de l’Art Chrétien. -- Press Universitaires de France, 1955-59. 

Art Ref. N7830. R7


An indispensable refererence work on Christian iconography. The scope ranges from Early Christian representations to those of the 20th century, with emphasis on Western medieval art. Examples are chosen from painting, sculpture, tapestries, glass, and enamels.  For the iconography of the Bible, see volume 2. 



Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography: Themes Depicted in Works of Art, ed. Helen E. Roberts. 2 vols. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1998. Includes bibliographical references and indexes.

Art Ref. N7560. E53 1998



Manuscript Illumination

A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in the British Isles. Ed. J.J.G. Alexander.  


Volume 4, Part 1: “Early Gothic Manuscripts 1190-1250, ed. Nigel Morgan; Volume 4, Part 2: Early Gothic Manuscripts 1250-1285 (see O.T. Iconographic Index 350-353); Volume 5, Parts 1 and 2: Gorthic Manuscripts 1285-1385, ed. Lucy Freeman Sandler (O.T.  Iconographic Index 2: 213-214.



Bible Moralisée Illustrée. Ed. A. de Laborde. 5 vols. Paris, 1911-27.

Special Collections Grille 220.47 R1 (Dewey)


Facsimile compendium of the grand projet of kings of France in the early thirteenth century. The facsimile contains appx. 12,000 roundels illustrating scenes from the Old and New Testaments with tropological illustrations. 



Ohlgren, Thomas H.  Insular and Anglo-Saxon Illuminated Manuscripts: An Iconographic Catalogue c. A.D. 626-1100. -- New York: Garland, 1986 Art Ref ND3128 O45 1986


Includes Iconographic Contents Indices.  Citations arrange by ms. with bibliographic references including references to illustrations.



Stained Glass


Corpus vitrearum Medii Aevi.  Paris: Le Comité International d’Histoir de l’Art, 1956-

Art NK5300 . . .


A series devoted to compiling a complete inventory of surviving medieval stained-glass panels according to present location.  Most volumes have individual subject or iconographic indices.  There is no complete index to the series.




Jane Clapp. Sculpture Index. -- Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow, 1970.


Arranged alphabetically with artist, title, distinctive subject interfiled. Refers to works in which representations appear.  Supplement with Réau above.


Depiction of Themes


Didron, Adolphe Napoleon. Christian Iconography: The History of Christian Art in the Middle Ages. Trans. E.J. Millington. -- New York: Frederick Ungar, 1968.


Includes descriptions of various scenes from the Old and New Testament as represented in art, as well as a Byzantine guide to painting and the text of the Biblio Pauperum.  General index 2: 440-52.


Early Modern & General


Korwin, Yala H. Index to two-dimensional art works. -- Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow: 1981.

Art Ref N7525 K67


Indexes illustrations to paintings, drawings, & prints.  Includes Biblical themes & persona.



Roberts, Helene E. Iconographic Index to New Testament Subjects Represented in Photographs and Slides of Paintings in the Visual Collections, Fine Arts Library, Harvard University.  New York: Garland, 1992. 

Art Ref ND1430 R6 1992.



Roberts, Helene E. Iconographic Index to Old Testament Subjects Represented in Photographs and Slides of Paintings in the Visual Collections, Fine Arts Library, Harvard University.  New York: Garland, 1987. 

Art Ref ND1430 R63 19987



Waal, Henri van de. Iconclass: an Iconographic Classification System. Amsterdam, 1973-

Art Ref Z697 A8 W3 1973


Based primarily on Flemish and Netherlandish painting and engraving.  For Biblical subjects see v. 7.

See corresponding photo files in Art Library