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Finding Images: An Overview

The Artstor Digital Library is an image database where you can find more than 2 million images from the world's museums, archives, libraries, and scholars for use in research across subject areas. There are many different ways you can search for content in Artstor, including:

  • Browsing by geography, classification, or collection
  • Keyword and filtered search
  • Advanced search

Search tips:

  • Search for multiple terms (bombay OR mumbai) (puppies AND kittens) using the dropdown menus to the left of each search termUse quotations ("civil war") to search for exact phrases 
  • Geography always refers to a creator's country of birth, except for architecture/built environment images, which are based on geographic location
  • Use wildcards to broaden your search
    • Asterisk wildcard: trap* returns results for trap, trapping, trapper, trappist 
    • Question mark wildcard: advis?r returns results for adviser and advisor


If you are not sure what you are looking for you can browse images by:

  • Geography* Images organized by the creator’s nationality such as Albania, China, or the United States. Note that geography for architectural works is based on the location of the work, not the creator’s nationality.
  • Classification*  There are 16 different classifications: Architecture and City Planning; Decorative Arts, Utilitarian Objects and Interior Design; Drawings and Watercolors; Fashion, Costume and Jewelry; Film, Audio, Video and Digital Art; Garden and Landscape; Graphic Design and Illustration; Humanities and Social Sciences; Manuscripts and Manuscript Illuminations; Maps, Charts and Graphs; Paintings; Performing Arts (including Performance Art); Photographs; Prints; Science, Technology and Industry; and Sculpture and Installations. You can view all images in each classification, or use classification to narrow keywords searches.(photographs, architecture, paintings, science and technology)
  • Collection* Browse all the images from a particular collection, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art or the National Gallery of Art. You can search within a particular collection by opening the collection, entering a search term in the search bar, selecting “search within results,” and clicking search

*If you are accessing the above links off-campus, you will need a registered Artstor Account to gain access. Learn more about registered accounts in this video.

Keyword and Filtered Search

Search for a keyword such as “dress” or “bowl.”  You can then filter your results by geography, classification, and date--or search within your results for additional terms to further narrow your results.

Advanced Search

Use advanced search to narrow your search right from the start. Some search tips:

  • Limit your search to specific data fields such as title, creator, material, culture, and more using the dropdown menu to the right of each search term 
  • Search for multiple terms (bombay OR mumbai) (puppies AND kittens) using the dropdown menus to the left of each search term

Viewing Images

Click on a thumbnail in your search results to view an image. On the detail page you can zoom and pan, view the image full screen, and compare it with other images.