Scholars use a variety of methodologies, or theoretical approaches, to frame their analyses of artworks, images, and objects. Each perspective asks different questions. Collectively, they enrich our understanding of art and visual culture, and how images and objects help to shape our knowledge of ourselves, our society, and the world around us. Below are some common methodologies and a bibliography if you would like to learn more.
Museum Studies and Collecting
Adams, Laurie. Schneider. The Methodologies of Art: An Introduction. Boulder: Westview Press, 1996.
Barrett, Estelle, and Barbara Bolt, eds. Carnal Knowledge: Towards a “New Materialism” through the Arts. London: I.B. Tauris, 2013.
Bennett, Jane. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010.
Carbonell, Bettina Messias, ed. Museum Studies: An Anthology of Contexts. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.
Chipp, Herschel. Theories of Modern Art: A Source Book by Artists and Critics. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968.
D’Alleva, Anne. Look! The Fundamentals of Art History. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2010.
D’Alleva, Anne. Methods & Theories of Art History. London: Laurence King, 2005.
Dewdney, Andrew, David Dibosa, and Victoria Walsh. Post-critical Museology: Theory and Practice in the Art Museum. London: Routledge, 2013.
Dolphijn, Rick, and Iris van der Tuin. New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies. Ann Arbor: Open Humanities Press, 2012. See the bibliography for sources on New Materialism.)
Dudley, Sandra, ed. Museum Objects: Experiencing the Properties of Things. New York: Routledge, 2012.
Duncan, Carol. Civilizing Rituals: Inside Public Art Museums. New York: Routledge, 1995.
Edwards, Steve, ed. Art and its Histories: A Reader. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999.
Fernie, Eric, ed. Art History and its Methods: A Critical Anthology. London: Phaidon, 1995.
Gerritsen, Anne, and Giorgio Riello, eds. Writing Material Culture History. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.
Gillan, Rose. Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials. Thousand Oaks: SAGE, 2012.
Harris, Jonathan P. Art History: The Key Concepts. New York: Routledge, 2006.
Harrison, Charles, Paul Wood, and Jason Gaiger, eds. Art in Theory, 1648-1815: An Anthology of Changing Ideas. Malden: Blackwell Publishers, 2000.
Harrison, Charles, and Paul Wood, eds. Art in Theory, 1815-1900: An Anthology of Changing Ideas. Malden: Blackwell Publishers, 1998.
Harrison, Charles, and Paul Wood, eds. Art in Theory, 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas. 2nd ed. Malden: Blackwell Publishers, 2003.
Howells, Richard, and Joaquim Negreiros, eds. Visual Culture. Cambridge: Polity, 2012.
Jay, Martin, and Sumathi Ramaswamy, eds. Empires of Vision: A Reader. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014.
Mansfield, Elizabeth, ed. Making Art History: A Changing Discipline and its Institutions. New York: Routledge, 2007.
Nelson, Robert S., and Richard Shiff, eds. Critical Terms for Art History. Second ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.
Onciul, Bryony. Museums, Heritage and Indigenous Voice: Decolonizing Engagement. New York: Routledge, 2015.
Panofsky, Irwin. Perspective as Symbolic Form. (1927 reissue). Cambridge: MIT Press, Zone Books, 1993.
Pfeifer, Geoff. The New Materialism: Althusser, Badiou, and Žižek. New York: Routledge, 2015.
Pooke, Grant, and Diana Newall. Art History: The Basics. New York: Routledge, 2008.
Robinson, Hilary. Feminism Art Theory: An Anthology, 1968-2000. Malden: Blackwell Publishers, 2001.
Siapkas, Johannes, and Lena Sjögren. Displaying the Ideals of Antiquity: The Perified Gaze. New York: Routledge, 2014.
Smith, Paul, and Carolyn Wilde, eds. A Companion to Art Theory. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2002.
Stiles, Kristine, and Peter Selz, eds. Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings. 2nd ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright. Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Wölfflin, Heinrich. Principles of Art History: The Problem of the Development of Style in Later Art. (1915). Translated by M.D. Hottinger. New York: Dover Publications, 1950.