Art And Art History

Welcome to QNL’s Art and Art History Subject Guide!

Since the earliest civilization, man has always been keen to embrace arts in buildings, constructions, palaces, castles, and houses of worship. In the modern era, splendor of art is visible in costumes, decorations and graphic design as well as architecture of bridges, museums, parks, web design, animation videos and much more.

This guide provides an overview of recommended QNL collections on art and art history such as databases, books, journals, reference and other resources, printed or digital, that are accessible through different websites and platforms.

Please search the QNL Catalog to find out which of the recommended resources can be accessed in a digital format on the QNL website. The catalog also indicates where these resources can be obtained if available only in a printed format.

For study or general reference questions and further assistance on how to find relevant materials for your information needs, please feel free to contact us through the Ask QNL Librarians service.


Use the following databases to search for articles, books, ebooks and more about art and art history. For a comprehensive list of QNL databases, please visit QNL Online Resources

ARTbibliographies Modern 
The specialized bibliography is available for the study of modern and contemporary art, with full abstracts and indexing from the late 1960s onwards. It covers painting, sculpture, photography, video and more.

Arts and Humanities Database 
The Arts and Humanities Database includes peer-reviewed articles relevant to the fields of applied arts and cultural studies. Subject strengths are art, design, photography, archaeology, architecture, interior design, modern languages and literature, and cultural studies.

Design and Applied Arts Index (DAAI)
A leading source of abstracts and bibliographic records for articles, news and reviews published in periodicals on design and applied arts. It covers disciplines such as ceramics, graphic design, fashion, interior design, architecture, web design, animation and more.

The JSTOR archive includes more than 1,500 leading academic journals in the humanities, social sciences and sciences. The entire archive of journals (from volume 1, issue 1) is provided, with an embargo for the most recent three years.

RBdigital- Magazines
RBdigital provides access to full versions of several hundred popular magazines and journals, including several on various art topics. You may visit RBdigital via the QNL Online Resources page. After you sign in to your QNL account, you will be redirected to the RBdigital site. The first time you visit the site, you will need to create an account with RBdigital.

Here are a few examples of magazines available through RBdigital:

  • ARTnews: The award-winning ARTnews covers all art, from the ancient to the cutting-edge. It provides behind-the-scenes access to galleries, museums, auction houses and artists' studios.
  • Dwell: A modern architecture and design magazine aimed at people who believe that good design is an integral part of real life.
  • Amateur Photographer: The world's oldest weekly magazine for photography contains news and events, plus features on techniques, equipment tests and darkroom advice.
  • Shutterbug: Directed at advanced amateur and professional photographers, the magazine provides lighting pointers, test reports, equipment reviews and more in every issue.
  • Artists & Illustrators: Deemed the UK’s best-selling magazine for artists and art lovers, its issues contain a colorful palette of profiles and features, with practical ideas, expert technical advice and useful product tests.

Print Books

Below is a list of recommended print books on art and art history. For many more, search the QNL Catalog.

Gardner, H. & Kleiner, F. S. (2013). Gardner's Art Through the Ages. Boston: Cengage Learning.
Call Number: N5300 .G25 2013b
Gardner’s Art Through the Ages is a classic in the art world. This two-volume set is a beautifully illustrated tour of the world's great artistic traditions

Gombrich, E. H. (1995). The Story of Art. London: Phaidon Press Limited.
Call Number: N5300 .G643 1995.
This is one of the most important books on art ever written. Known for its simplicity and clarity, it is an essential read for all newcomers to the subject.

Hammond, A. (2005). Pop Culture Arab World!: Media, Arts, and Lifestyle. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO.
Call Number: DS36.88 .H357 2005
This book explores Arab cultural life since World War II. Topics include radio and TV, media, cinema, music, theater, popular religion, Western consumerism, sports, and the Arabic language.

Shabout, N. M. (2007). Modern Arab Art: Formation of Arab Aesthetics. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
Call Number: N7625.3 .S53 2007
Shabout covers Arab arts, emphasizing production, reception and the intersection between arts and politics.


Below is a list of recommended ebooks on art and art history. For many more ebooks, search the QNL Catalog.

Burckhardt, T. (2009). Art of Islam, Language and Meaning: Commemorative Edition. Lanham, MD, US: World Wisdom.
Burckhardt gives an in-depth analysis of Islamic architecture from across the MENA region, examining Qur’anic calligraphy and illumination, arabesque, carpets and rugs, and more.

Nelson, R. & Shiff, R. (2003). Critical Terms for Art History. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press
The book contains essays covering a variety of terms in art history, explaining a single term, the issues the term raises and putting the term into practice.

Salama, A. M. & Wiedmann, F. (2013). Demystifying Doha: On Architecture and Urbanism in an Emerging City. Farnham, Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing.
The book provides an analysis of the evolution of architecture and urbanism in Doha.

Schwartz, L. H., Kaye, D. D. & Martini, J. (2013). Artists and the Arab Uprisings. Santa Monica, CA, USA: RAND.
The authors discuss the role played by artists in public debate and the democratic transition in the Middle East. This book also explores the challenges artists have faced since the Arab uprisings.


Art Journal 
Art Journal is a peer-reviewed, professionally mediated forum for discussion of scholarship and exploration in the visual arts.

The Design Journal
An international peer-reviewed journal for all aspects of design for scholars, professionals, educators and managers.

Journal of Fine and Studio Art (JFSA)
JFSA is a peer-reviewed journal that covers all areas of art, such as art appreciation and criticism, aspect ratio in pictures, art history and more.

Journal of Mathematics and the Arts
This peer-reviewed journal discusses the connections between mathematics and the arts.

Public Art Dialogue
This journal provides critical discourse and commentary about the practice of public art, defined as broadly as possible.

World Art
A peer-reviewed journal for scholars, students and art practitioners, World Art considers art across time, place and culture.

Online Resources

Mathaf Encyclopedia of Modern Art and the Arab World
This free encyclopedia in English and Arabic created by Mathaf Museum in Qatar provides basic facts and in-depth information on modern art of the Arab world. The encyclopedia aims to standardize data on Arab artists and to encourage multiple perspectives on modernism in the Arab world, while providing a comprehensive view of its development.

Blouin Artinfo 
A source for art news, expert commentary and information on artists. It contains developments from galleries, auction houses and museums.

Catalogues Raisonnés
Catalogues raisonnés are scholarly compilations that contain all the works of an artist documented by either a single scholar or a group of scholars. Each work is pictured, with opinions, provenance (where the work has been) and literature about the work. 

Reference Materials


Azzam, K. (2013). Arts & Crafts of the Islamic Lands: Principles, Materials, Practice. London: Thames & Hudson.
Call Number: Ref TT114.5 .A78 2013
Azzam combines information on techniques and materials with discussions of philosophical and historical backgrounds of Islamic art.

Bloom, J. & Blair, S. (2009). The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Call Number: Ref N6260.G75 2009
This is considered one of the most comprehensive reference works of Islamic art history, as it contains 1,600 entries on subjects related to Islamic art and architecture ranging from the Middle East to Central and South Asia, Africa and Europe.

Searching for Images


Google Images
Searching images is available on Google. Some images will be copyrighted.

Getty Images (Open Content)
This includes stock photography, editorial photos and some moving images.

Flickr Commons (Open Content)
This is a free public collection of photographs from major photography archives. Contributors include the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution and more.

Copyright and Fair Use
Unless images are in the public domain, everything that is published online or in print is protected by copyright law, and copying images without explicit permission may not be permitted. Some online resources have images that can be used by the public (Open Content).

Fair use is an exception to the protection of copyright law. It allows for limited use of images without obtaining permission from the author or owner. This type of copying is considered "fair" and is applicable for teaching, scholarship or research.

Catalogues Raisonnés

Catalogues Raisonnés is a print catalog that contains all the works of an artist. Either a single scholar or a group of scholars documents every work of an artist's career. Each work is pictured, with opinions, provenance (where the work has been), and literature about the work. 


Museums in Doha


Mathaf, located in Education City, features modern and contemporary Arab art, with exhibitions exploring Arab artists' achievements in painting, sculpture and photography.

Museum of Islamic Art (MIA)
The MIA contains one of the world's most extensive collections of arts and crafts made using traditional styles and techniques developed across the Middle East and Central Asia.

Katara Art Center 
Located in the Katara Cultural Village, this is a  committed and passionate contemporary art incubator.

Al Riwaq
A non-collecting exhibition space originally established as a temporary venue to host two exhibitions organized by the Arab Museum of Modern Art, Al Riwaq has been transformed into a permanent gallery.

Al Markhiya Gallery 
Located in a former fire station, this contemporary art gallery showcases the works of emerging and established painters, sculptors and photographers, with a focus on regional artists. From September through June, the gallery offers a program of rotating exhibitions, each lasting 4–6 weeks, which gives a panoramic overview of Qatar's current contemporary art scene.

Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
Created through Sheikh Faisal’s lifelong devotion to art and culture, the museum that carries his name displays a collection of 15,000 works passionately gathered from around the world over the last 50 years.