Skip to Main Content

Art FAQ: Iconography

Answers to Basic Information Questions at Marquand (Art) Library

I need to know the attributes of a particular saint or the meaning of the unicorn in Christian iconography.

Look in the following works, shelved in the reference room (both Christian iconography and beyond):

  • Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, Ref N7640.H2 1979 and online .
  • Dictionary of Christian Lore and Legend, Ref BR95.M396 1983 
  • Hall's Illustrated Dictionary of Symbols in Eastern and Western Art, Ref N7740.H355 1994   
  • Oxford Dictionary of Saints, Ref BR1710.F34 1997
  • Iconclass indexes, Ref Z697.A8… and online .
  • An Introduction to Iconography (1994), Ref. N7565 .S7713 1994 and online .
  • Encyclopedia of Comparative Iconography

For additional titles, Marquand's reference collection has many additional titles on more specific topics relating to subjects and symbols. One can try a Subject (browse) search in the library catalog for: Symbolism in Art Dictionaries, or consider any topic you are interested in and look for that heading in the form: X in art.
e.g. Bees in art

Also, the Index of Medieval Art is open to the public: see its website for further information about this wonderful iconographic resource and database that includes bibliography and imagery from Late Antiquity to the 16th century.

Image databases can sometimes be helpful for questions of iconography.

Assistant Art Librarian

Profile Photo
Rebecca Friedman
she, her, hers
Firestone Library, A-15G
609-258-3163 or -3783
Subjects: Art & Archaeology