F&M College Library

ART103-B | Learning to See: Histories of Art & Architecture in the Western Tradition

A research guide for Professor Rauser's section of ART103, to help with classwork and research, especially for your DIY Art History Timeline and Mapping an Artwork assignments.

DIY Art History Timeline

Finding Research for Your Timeline

Here is a suggestion of order of locations to look for your objects for your timeline. I recommend following the list in order, seeing what you can find under each particular item before moving on to the next. Remember that some resources will give you more information than others depending upon which object you're working with, and sometimes some of the Big 5 Questions may go unanswered if that information wasn't recorded. 


  1. Find your object in the global context - where is it currently located? Is it in a museum collection, or perhaps a private collection? Trying putting the object name into Google and see what shows up. Remember to use the actual museum website, and not a random link. 
  2. Look up your object or object artist in Oxford Art Online, an encyclopedic database of artists and art objects. [Remember to either go through the Library homepage, or sign in via your institution for access from the link above.]
  3. Search for books and other library holdings about your object/artist in DISCOVER
  4. Search for your artist or object in one of our library databases. JSTOR is a great place to start, as is Art Full Text and Humanities Full Text. For a more complete list of databases and their links, check the Research Help section of this guide. 


As you're searching, pay attention to alternate spellings of the work or artist's name, and look at keywords that you come across in your results. Repeat your searches with some of these keywords, if necessary, to get a fuller picture of the object. 

And remember, if you get stuck with your research, or can't find anything with the above resources, reach out to Anna Boutin-Cooper at anna.boutin-cooper@fandm.edu for research help. 

Timeline Assignment

DIY Art History: Students will compile their own timeline as the class goes along. This is a physical object, for which you'll be printing out and cutting and pasting images and maps, and annotating them with facts. You are responsible for learning the basic facts about the artworks we will be studying; such facts are easily found on the web and in a variety of physical textbooks. You must answer the Big 5 Questions about each artwork we study:

Who made it?
Who paid for it?
What is it made of?
Where was it made?
Why was it made?

Each week, I will send you a list of artworks to research and add to your timeline. You must complete the research before coming to class, so keep your research notes in a notebook that you bring to class each day. In between classes, add the new data and images into your timeline. Your timeline will be due at three different points during the semester, to give you feedback and ensure you are keeping up with your entries. Remember, flash cards are not a timeline-- what makes something a timeline is that it demonstrates the relationship among objects across time.

Be creative: think about how you'll best organize this information into a coherent and useful tool for your own learning and studying. Also notice that the grading rubric encourages you to include a few "extras"-- interesting facts or details, which will both help you remember these objects and elevate your project. In some cases you won't be able to find an answer to one or more of the questions, because we simply don't know who commissioned the work, or when exactly it was made. That's useful information, too.