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Medieval Iconography
Compiled by Thomas Hill, Art Librarian, Vassar College Art Library, March 2003

Electronic Resources:

Index of Christian Art (http://ica.princeton.edu/).

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 (http://library.vassar.edu/webscript/bha.scr).

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.

Print Resources: General

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.

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: Gothic 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.

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 buide to painting and the text of the Biblio Pauperum.  General index 2: 440-52.


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.

See also earlier volumes of Alexander©–s Survey above.

Later Examples

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.

Waal, Henri van de. Iconclass: an Iconographic Classification System. Amsterdam, 1973-
Art Ref Z697 A8 W3 1973 (on file cabinet)
Indexes mainly Netherlandish painting and engraving.  For Biblical subjects see v.7.
See corresponding photo files in Art Library.