Historical Research in the Arts
Examples | Methodology | Student Resources | Glossary | Teacher Resources

Historical Research in the Arts is a subcategory of Fine Arts Research.

  • Read the description to understand the scope of historical research in the arts..
  • Study the examples to see what others have done.
  • Navigate through the Steps to plan your methodology.
  • Use the Student Resources to assist in carrying out your research.

Artistic Historical - utilizes the study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts.  This includes the "major" arts of painting, sculpture, and architecture as well as the "minor" arts of ceramics, furniture, and other decorative objects.  Also included are dance, theater, literary and film studies.

See other types of Fine Arts research. Anthropological Criticism Experimental Practice-Based
  • Creating traditional coil vessels influenced by the life of Henri Matisse
  • Make a slab construction based on the architecture of American Gothic time period (as in Grant Wood's American Gothic painting).
  • Compose new composition from researching jazz music of the 1930s.
Step 1 Having developed your question/problem/thesis, identify multiple primary and secondary sources that are related your question/problem/thesis.
Step 2

Analyze and evaluate the sources to determine relevance

  1. account for bias and slant
  2. place in the historical context
  3. examine from multiple points of view
Step 3

Collect and organize evidence, verify authenticity and veracity of information

  1.  evaluate the sources
  2.  discard or locate sources of information related to topic
Step 4

Select, organize and analyze the most pertinent collected evidence

  1. Notetaking
  2. Consider the so what/why/historical significance
Step 5 Draw conclusions (related to thesis/problem/question) and record in a narrative
  • Academy of Achievement-- Achievement TV is a revolutionary education resource - a library of unique video programs that discusses the greatest achievements in the arts of our age. 
  •  Artcyclopedia - This helpful site gives overviews of art styles and access to artists well-known for developing or working within a particular movement.
  • Institute of Historical Research
  • Library of Congress Digital Collections and Resources-- One of the largest libraries has made digitized versions of collection materials available online since 1994, concentrating on its most rare collections and those unavailable anywhere else.
  • SmartHistory.Org-- An online video series about artists, periods, and themes of art.
  • Library of Congress: The American Folklife Center- On this Web site you will find not only an introduction to the activities of the American Folklife Center and its Archive of Folk Culture but also news about programs and activities, online presentations of multiformat collections, and other resources to facilitate folklife projects and study.
Visual Arts