Detail from the frontispiece ofFranciscus Junius, De pictura veterum, 1694
Detail from the frontispiece of Franciscus Junius, De pictura veterum, 1694.Credit

A - Z : Early Sources in Art History 1547-1900

10 March - 16 June 2018

Room 11 | Free

Dictionaries and encyclopedias have played a significant role in the documentation and subsequent scholarly study of the visual arts. The tradition of compiling biographies and producing technical treatises on the arts can be traced back to antiquity, Pliny the Elder and Vitruvius having produced two celebrated examples. From the sixteenth century onwards, art reference works, of varying size and scope, were produced in numerous languages, by diverse publishers and in distinct editions. These works, arranged using chronological, alphabetical or geographical parameters, either represent a treatise on the entire history of art and architecture, including key artists, movements or collections, or they simply focus on a particular aspect of the subject, such as biography, terminology, iconography or technique.

Showcasing highlights from the National Gallery of Ireland’s library collections we celebrate the importance of a selection of key reference publications and chronicle the development of art dictionaries and encyclopedias over four centuries.  

Curators: Andrea Lydon and Catherine Sheridan, National Gallery of Ireland