Visual Resources


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The Art History Visual Resources Collection supports teaching and study of worldwide art history from the prehistoric period to the present day. The Visual Resources Curator maintains and expands the digital image collection, creates new images on request, and provides help with finding and using images. The Art History Digital Collection is available to the university community for educational and non-profit use through ARTstor, the image library for arts and sciences accessible through University Libraries.

The Visual Resources Collection offers training for using the image collection, provides help with finding open access images on the web, and offers guidelines on copyright for using images.

The Visual Resources Collection provides scanning services for faculty and students for classroom presentations and projects, conferences, and publications. Faculty and students are welcome to use the slide and flatbed scanners in the Visual Resources office.



Browse and search the ARTstor digital library, a collection of over one million images for the arts and sciences including the George Mason Art History Digital Collection. From campus, go to To download images, register for a free ARTstor account. Use your complete Mason address. Example:

Web Images

Many websites allow non-commercial use of images. Below are a few of the expanding number of sites. Always check terms of use for images and cite the source of the image.

Creative Commons
Freer and Sackler Galleries
J. Paul Getty Museum and Getty Research Institute
Metropolitan Museum of Art
National Gallery of Art
Walters Art Museum

University Libraries

The Art History InfoGuide provides a wealth of useful information about image and research databases, copyright guidelines, and museums and galleries.

For more information about digital images and ARTstor go to:

Copyright and Fair Use

For brief guidelines on copyright and fair use of images visit University Libraries InfoGuide for Art History. Click on Find Images.

Getty Vocabularies

The Getty Research Institute website contains three useful sites for art history terminology, places related to art and architecture, and metadata for creators of art.

Use the Art and Architecture Thesaurus for art terms and definitions of periods, styles, materials, and techniques.

Check the Thesaurus of Geographic Names for ancient and current sites related to art and archaeology.

Consult the Union List of Artist Names for creators’ names, life dates, roles, and biographical information.

Visual Resources Association

This organization is for those who work in or are interested in the field of image management. Information about conferences, employment opportunities, statements on the academic use of images, and cataloging guidelines may be found. Access the Visual Resources Association here.


Image Citations

Bayeux Tapestry Fragment: Harold Comes to Normandy. c1066-1082. Embroidery. Centre Guillaume le Conquérant, Bayeux, France.

A Hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus). Hans Hoffmann. Before 1584. Watercolor and gouache on vellum. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Effigy Bottle. Pre-Columbian. Northern Peru. 200 BC-500 AD, Early Intermediate. Walters Art Museum. Walters Art Museum [Public domain, CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Beaker-Shaped Vase with Four Animals. Chinese Qing, 1640-1660. Walters Art Museum.

Flower Still Life. Ambrosius Bosschaert I. 1614. J. Paul Getty Museum.  Ambrosius Bosschaert (I) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA-3.0 

Puppy. Jeff Koons. 1992. Guggenheim Bilbao. By Zarateman (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Great Friday Mosque, Jenné, Mali. Rebuilt 1906-1907 in the style of the 13th century original. I, Ruud Zwart [CC BY-SA 2.5 nl GFDL or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

Terracotta Neck Amphora. Attributed to Exekias. Greek Attic, c540 BC. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Villa Rotonda. Andrea Palladio. c1556-70. By Philip Schäfer (own image) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Head of a Buddha. Lan Na period, 1500. Northern Thailand. Bronze. Freer Gallery of Art  FS-6404_01