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Visual Resource Apps






"The Interaction of Color mobile app for iPad is packed with elegant and innovative features that help you understand the book’s ideas, view the plates, experiment, and create and share your own designs. This interactive edition of one of the most influential books on color ever written offers users an entirely new way to experience Josef Albers’s original masterwork." Yale University Press



"Art Authority is a comprehensive collection of works by over 1,000 of the western world's major artists, from ancient times to today. At your fingertips! Organized by period and artist, Art Authority's 65,000+ paintings and sculptures are downloaded as needed and displayed chronologically for each artist, with detailed captioning. In-depth information about the periods and artists is also available." Open Doors Networks, Inc.

Finding the right image...

Where to begin

It is important to analyze and evaluate the images you use for research, projects, and presentations. Images should be analyzed and evaluated like any other source, such as journal articles or books, to determine their (1) appropriateness, (2) reliability, and (3) quality.


Content and Visual Analysis serve as an important step in evaluating an image and understanding its meaning (appropriateness). Make sure to consider the text accompanying the image, including any information about the original context of the image and its creation. It is also important to evaluate the Image Source (reliability), as well as the Technical Aspects of the image (quality).


The following questions can help guide your analysis and evaluation:


Content Analysis*   

  • What is the subject of the image?
  • What is the title of the image? Does the title help explain the image's meaning?
  • When, where and why was the work made? By whom and for whom?
  • What is the cultural context of the work? Where would it originally have been seen?
  • Are there people in the image? What are they doing? How are they presented?
  • Can the image have different meanings for different audiences?
  • How effective is the image at communicating a message?


Visual Analysis* 

  • How is the image composed? What is in the background, and what is in the foreground?
  • What are the most important visual elements in the image? How can you tell?
  • How is color used?
  • Does the design or style of the image communicate a message?


Image Source

  • Where did you find the image?
  • What information does the source provide about the origins of the image?
  • Is the source reliable and trustworthy?
  • Was the image found in an image database, or was it being used in another context to convey meaning?
  • What information accompanies the image?
  • Does the text change how you see the image? How?
  • Is the textual information intended to be factual and inform, or is it intended to influence what and how you see?


Technical Aspects

  • Is the image large enough to suit your purposes?
  • Are the color, light, and balance true?
  • Is the image a quality digital image, without pixelation or distortion?
  • Is the image in a file format you can use?
  • Are there copyright or other use restrictions you need to consider?


*These questions are taken from Sylvan Barnet's A Short Guide to writing about Art. Eleventh Edition. Pearson Education, 2015. [Library Call #: N7476. B37 2015] 

Content and Visual Analysis Resources

CCA Library Databases

ARTstor » A digital library of more than one million images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and sciences with a set of tools to view, present, and manage images for teaching and research. The collections include contributions from international museums, photographers, libraries, scholars, photo archives, and artists -- including CCA.

Capp Street Project Archive » find images documenting installations and temporary projects sponsored by the Capp Street Project since 1983

CCA Images and Archives » search over 3,500 digital images from CCA's image and archive collections

Online Digital Image Databases

Artsy features the world’s leading galleries, museum collections, foundations, artist estates, art fairs, and benefit auctions, all in one place. Our growing database of 230,000 images of art, architecture, and design by 25,000 artists spans historical, modern, and contemporary works, and includes the largest online database of contemporary art. Each user is responsible for determining and complying with any applicable third-party rights and conditions.


Getty Open Content Program makes available, without charge, all available digital images to which the Getty holds the rights or that are in the public domain to be used for any purpose. No permission is required.

New York Public Library Digital Gallery provides free and open access to over 800,000 images digitized from the NYPL's vast collections, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs and more. Materials downloaded from the NYPL Websites may only be used for personal, educational, or research purposes. High resolution digital files of photos in the Library’s Digital Gallery are available for editorial and commercial use for a reproduction fee. 


National Gallery of Art Images is a repository of digital images of the collections of the National Gallery of Art. On this website you can search, browse, share, and download images. More than 45,000 open access digital images up to 4000 pixels each are available free of charge for download and use. Users do not need to contact the Gallery for authorization to use these images.


Art Resource is the world's largest fine art stock photo archive, with more than 1,000,000 searchable fine art images from the world's leading sources, available for licensing to all media.

For more online image resources vist the Online Image Databases page