Historic Illustrations of Art and Architecture

Collection Information

The historic illustrations included in this project were originally published during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many originally appeared in publications that predated the widespread use of photography for art documentation. These engravings, line drawings, and plans reflect both the technological and aesthetic standards of their time. By their very nature, they often represent subjective interpretations of the monuments and works depicted, and as such they offer fascinating insights into the cultural values of art and architectural history during the formative years of these disciplines.

These illustrations have been scanned as full-sized TIFF files at 600 dpi. A fielded catalogue record, including subject headings, has also been created for each illustration. These records also include full bibliographic information on the sources, which were published between 1879 and 1921. Because these illustrations are now in the public domain under United States copyright law, they may be freely copied and used for any desired application. Similarly, the cataloguing and descriptive notes provided for each image are not proprietary information, and may also be freely copied or re-used, either in part or in their entirety.

While these illustrations are often beautiful examples of the draftsman's or engraver's skill, by their very nature they also represent subjective interpretations of the monuments and works depicted. Anyone wishing to use these images for teaching and research purposes should bear this in mind. Moreover, some of these illustrations may no longer reflect current scholarship due to ongoing research and critical reassessment of individual sites and works since their original publication. Therefore, the use of these images for pedagogical purposes should be complemented as necessary by comparison with updated plans, drawings, and photographs of the subject works and sites.

Allan T. Kohl
Minneapolis College of Art & Design

See also... Art Images for College Teaching


Historic Images of Art and Architecture: Bibliography of Source Publications

Architecture, Sculpture, and the Industrial Arts Among the Nations of Antiquity / a series of illustrations arranged chronologically, and forming an atlas, to be used in connection with any work on the history of art. Authorized American edition, published under the supervision of S. R. Koehler. Boston: L. Prang and Company, 1879. Series I.

Architecture, Sculpture, and the Industrial Arts Among the Nations of Antiquity / a series of illustrations arranged chronologically, and forming an atlas, to be used in connection with any work on the history of art. Authorized American edition, published under the supervision of S. R. Koehler. Boston: L. Prang and Company, 1879. Series II.

Britton, John. Cathedral antiquities. Historical and descriptive accounts, with 311 illustrations, of the following English cathedrals. Viz. Canterbury, York, Salisbury, Norwich, Oxford, Winchester, Lichfield, Hereford, Wells, Exeter, Worcester, Peterborough, Gloucester, and Bristol. The engravings mostly by J. Le Keux, esq. from drawings by E. Blore [and others] By John Britton.
London, M. A. Nattali, 1836.
[v. 1. Canterbury and York.--v. 2. Salisbury, Norwich, and Oxford.--v. 3. Winchester, Lichfield, and Hereford.--v. 4. Wells, Exeter, and Worcester.--v. 5. Peterborough, Gloucester, and Bristol.]

Fletcher, Banister. A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method. Sixth edition, rewritten and enlarged. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1921.

Lübke, Wilhelm. Outlines of the History of Art. A new translation from the seventh German edition, edited by Clarence Cook. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1881. Volume I.

Michel, André. Histoire de l'Art / depuis les premiers temps chrétiens jusqu'a nos jours. Paris: Librairie Armand Colin, 1905. Tome I, Deuxieme partie.

Reinach, Salomon. Apollo / an illustrated manual of the history of art throughout the ages. From the French by Florence Simmonds. New edition, revised by the author. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1914.