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Visual Research

Resources and tips for finding and ethically using visual imagery.


Before the internet, the library stacks were a great place for artists to immerse themselves in ideas and look for inspiration. Come to think of it, they still are. Here's how:

Check out books in the following call numbers, either in the main stacks or in the oversize stacks. All N call numbers in the main stacks are on Level 2 of the library, while you'll find TR and all oversize books on Level 3.

Visual arts

NA Architecture

NB Sculpture

NC Drawing, Design, Illustration

ND Painting

NE Print media

NK Decorative arts

NX Arts in general

TR Photography

How To Find Images In The Library

  • Include the phrase “pictorial works” in your keyword search. (This will help you find illustration, art, or photography on a wide range of subjects.)
    • Example: Bible AND “pictorial works”. Or “Vietnam War” AND “pictorial works”.
  • Include the word “exhibitions” in your keyword search. (This works best when looking for images from a specific artist or movement in art history.)
    • Example: Kandinsky AND exhibitions. Or impressionism AND exhibitions.
  • Do a subject search to find indexes of paintings, illustrations, sculptures, or photographs in print.
    • Example: subject search for “painting—indexes”. Or “pictures—indexes.” Or “photographs—indexes.
  • Do a subject search using the phrase “in art” following the subject you wish to find imagery of.
    • Example: death in art, dogs in art

LMU Digital Collections

Digital Collections at LMU has collections of digitized materials, like photographs and postcards, that might be useful in your research.

LMU Archives & Special Collections

The Department of Archives and Special Collections has many works of art and historical artifacts in its holdings. These include paintings, prints, sculpture, religious vestments, movie props, an ancient battle helmet and many other items.

These collections (and more!) are here for you to use!