The syllabus says this about your annotated bibliography:
“You must include primary sources, monographs, scholarly books, articles from scholarly journals, museum catalogues, book/catalogue reviews, and sources from outside the discipline of art history, such as history, anthropology, literature, or any other field your topic touches upon.”
Let's break this down. What types of sources, exactly, should you look for?
Here are some types of sources that will be useful for this class:
Finding all these sources will take time. You'll need time to do searches, time to browse the shelves, and time to read what you find. And, after you do some reading, you'll probably want to go back and do more searches, using what you learned. This is normal! Just give yourself plenty of time, and don't expect to find everything in one day.
Below is my advice for finding various types of sources.
To find books that cover a history of theory, search for that theory in Quest. (If you're lucky, you might also find articles about the history of your theory, but you're more likely to find books.)
What should you type in the search box?
Bear in mind that many of the theories used in art history are also used in other disciplines, such as literature criticism. For this reason, I don't recommend using the word "art" in your search. That's too narrow, and might miss some important items.
Each theory has a history. Each theory was created, and modified over time, by particular people. If you discover who these people are, then you can find their original writings (books or articles). Even though these writings are old, they're important, because they defined or redefined the theory that you're using.
Here are two steps to finding these writings:
Here are some examples of theories used in art history. I've taken these examples from the course syllabus:
No matter which theory you choose, you'll need to find examples of scholars applying that theory to artworks (a particular kind of secondary source).
To find these examples, the first place you should look is in your textbooks. Methods and Theories of Art History by Anne D’Alleva cites lots of particular examples. It's a good idea to find those examples (using Quest) and read them.
However, you don't have to limit yourself to the examples cited in D'Alleva! You can use Quest and/or the art history databases to find lots of other examples of scholars applying a given theory to artworks.
If you use Quest, remember that Quest covers all fields, not just art, so you have to specify that you want articles about art. For example, you might search for disabilit* AND art.
Your first instinct may be to find sources by art historians about your chosen artwork. That's a good starting point, but for this assignment, it isn't enough.
For example, if you're researching Michelangelo's Pietà, you might type "michelangelo" and "pieta" into a search box. This is a good starting point, but don't stop there! You should also look for sources from various disciplines, including sources that don't mention the Pietà, so that you can understand the context of the artwork.
For example, you might search for:
How do you think of these other perspectives? How do you know what else to search for?
Here is a two-step technique to help you think of other things to type in search boxes. We will practice these techniques in class:
Step #1: Read tertiary sources, and take notes
Tertiary sources are the quickest and easiest way to discover the context that an artwork exists in. I recommend that you read several tertiary sources, not just easy sources such as Wikipedia or Smarthistory.
Here are some tertiary sources you can consult. Look for articles about the artwork and articles about the artist.
Take notes on what you read! Write down any interesting clues so that you can type them in search boxes later.
Step #2: Ask yourself questions, and then find expert answers
Imagine that you're a detective who's been hired to do a full investigation of this artwork. You know the basic details already. Ask yourself... what don't you know?
To get a complete understanding of an artwork, our imaginary detective would need to interview lots of different people. For example, if the detective were researching Michelangelo's Pietà, they might interview a historian, and a geologist, and an architect, and a scholar of religious studies. Each is a different type of expert, and each would have something different to say.
...and so on.
It's hard to think of all the different fields that a person can be an expert in. You can get ideas from this Wikipedia page.
Primary sources are historical documents that provide evidence from the time period you're studying. Examples include diaries, letters, interviews, memoirs, government records, and newspaper articles. An artwork itself could also be considered a primary source, but for this class you'll need more evidence than just an artwork itself.
Here is the library's guide to finding primary sources. It was created for History students but is also useful for Art History students.