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Medieval Art in the Mediterranean: Pagans, Jews, Christians, and Muslims

Research Sources & Tips







Overviews, Images and Primary Sources

Reserves and Books

Journal Articles

Writing and Citing Sources


I. Overviews, Images and Primary Sources

    Definitions and Overviews


    Primary Sources

87 Thematic Essays on Islamic Art and More
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.)

The Grove Islamic Art and Architecture

Oxford Art Online


A Companion to Mediterranean History


Artifact (Tufts University)

Islamic Manuscripts Online

Discover Islamic Art

Miniatures from the Topkapi Museum (Istanbul)

The Digital Scriptorium

(medieval and renaissance manuscripts from many institutions.

More Manuscripts

Index of Christian Art


There are times you may need to find print images in books, museum/exhibition catalogs.

The Muslim World 1100-1700: Early Sources on Middle East History, Geography and Travel. DS38.3 .M88 2007

Early Medieval art, 300-1150; Sources and Documents N5975 .D3


II. Reserves and Books

    A. Use Library Catalogs for Reserves and Books

    B. Sample Searches:

      (note the search pattern; modify to your own needs)

1. Course Reserves

2. Tufts Libraries Catalog

3. BLC WorldCat (beyond Tufts)

1. Subject Browse on Broad Topics:

Art, Medieval -- Mediterranean Region.

Art, Egypt


Art, Turkey

Art, Turkish


Art -- Italy -- Venice


Art, Iran

Art, Sassanid


Art, Medieval -- Spain

Islamic art Spain


Art, Roman.

Art, Early Christian

Art, Byzantine.

Mosaics, Ancient (specific medium)

Mosaics, Byzantine.

Islamic art

     Islamic art metal-work

     Islamic decorative arts

     Islamic painting

     Islamic pottery


Islamic architecture



Manuscripts, Medieval

Illumination of books and manuscripts

Islamic illumination of books and manuscripts

      Illumination of books and manuscripts, Iranian

      Miniature painting, Iranian

Jewish illumination of books and manuscripts

Coptic illumination of books and manuscripts



Christian art and symbolism -- Byzantine Empire.

Jewish art

Jewish art and symbolism

Judaism and art

Synagogue art

2. Keyword Searches on More Specific Topics:

Textiles in the area and period in general:

(fabric* or textile*) and (Medieval or "middle ages") and Mediterranean

Textiles in, specifically, Venice in the period"

(fabric* or textile*) and (Medieval or "middle ages") and venice

Islamic influences in specific art centers, Venice or Sicily:

islamic* and (Medieval or "middle ages") and (venice or sicily)

The larger context of art in the region and period:

Art* and (Medieval or "middle ages") and Mediterranean



1. include "and" in between keywords;

2. "or" and ( ) to nest related/varied expressions;

3. art* for art, arts, artists, etc.


*Try using historical terms such as "Persia", "Ottoman", "Iberia", Al Andalus, Caliph, Caliphal, as well.




3. Find Exhibition/Museum Catalogues

Islamic Art -- Exhibitions

These exhibition and museum catalogues are uniquely valuable sources, which may include:

*Fundamental data on each work of art;

*Official images of the artworks;

*Curatorial statements/essays;

*essays by art critics/historians;

*list of scholarly publications on the art;

*interviews with artists;

*and more.


III. Journal Articles and More

    A. Subject Databases:

    B. Searching Tips:

    C. Finding Full Text

1. JSTOR and Project Muse


Two favorite collections of core journals of all disciplines.


2. Period Studies:


International Medieval Bibliography (400-1500).

Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance (400 -1700).

3. Art Full Text


4. Search across this group of databases or separately:

Art, Architecture, Islamic Studies, and Literature


5. BHA: Bibliography of the History of Art = Bibliographie d'Histoire de l'Art (Getty Art History Information Program, 1973-2009 [Publication suspended 31 March 2010.)

6. Explore your topic from other perspectives:

History, Religion, and Women's Studies



7. When use GoogleScholar, set your Library Links to access Tufts full texts.

1. Find More Articles like this "perfect" one


Search, in Arts and Humanities Citation Index, for the article you have read. For example the article in your syllabus:

Hoffman, Eva R. "Pathways of portability: Islamic and Christian interchange from the tenth to the twelfth century." Art History 24:1 (2001) 17-50.
References: 118 Times Cited: 9

You can, then, look up, in the record, the 118 references that Hoffman cited for her article and, in turn, 9 articles that cited hers. The assumption is that these articles address related issues.


1. Not every single article is cited;
2. Influential authors are cited more often;
3. More recent publications take time to be cited.


2. Find "Literature Review"

Reviews of recent books and other types of review articles in major journals in a discipline are likely to summarize the current state of research in an area.

An example of review of Books:

Brend, Barbara. "Caliphs and kings: The Art and Influence of Islamic Spain. Speculum 81:1 (2006) 180-181.


Recently Published Reviews

1. Click on the findIt@tufts button button in your search results screen to a window of three sequential options:

a. link to the digital full text when available;

b. link to a Library Catalog search for the print journal;

c. link to ILliad for requesting the article when the above two options are negative.

2. Search for a journal directly here:

a. Tufts Library Catalog (including e-journals)

b. Electronic journals list

c. Use ILliad to request your article, if Tufts does not have your journal.


A Few Core Journals:

Dumbarton Oaks Papers

Early Medieval Europe

Essays in Medieval Studies


Medieval Encounters


Studies in Iconography


International Journal of Middle East Studies

Islamic Studies

Journal of Near Eastern Studies

Journal of Middle East Women's Studies

The Middle East Journal



The Art Bulletin.

Art History

Architectural History

Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians


IV. Writing and Citing

    Writing Help

    Citing Sources


A Short Guide to Writing about Art by Sylvan Barnet

Writing about Art & Art History (The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)



Tufts Academic Resources Center -- Writing Tutors


Chicago Style Manual