H 1250 Art and Fine Art


BACKGROUND: Publications on art and artists normally reflect several aspects of art, including historical periods, styles, themes, ownership, etc. For this reason the subject cataloger normally assigns a set of headings to a work being cataloged rather than a single heading. This instruction sheet provides guidelines for the assignment of headings to works dealing with the arts collectively, the visual arts collectively, and fine art either collectively or as individual genres.


A list of free-floating subdivisions, including chronological subdivisions, was created in 2001 for application to art headings (Cf. H 1148).


Fine art is defined as those art forms whose primary characteristic is beauty rather than practical use, for example, painting, sculpture, drawing, prints. Fine art collectively is expressed by the heading Art.

Visual arts is the collective term for fine art, architecture and the decorative arts (useful objects with aesthetic value such as glassware, furniture, textiles). The concept of visual arts is also expressed by the heading Art.

The arts in the broadest sense include visual arts, literature and the performing arts (dance, music, theater, etc.). This concept is expressed by the heading Arts.

Note: For the sake of clarity headings are discussed throughout this instruction sheet in the order given in sec. 1 on the following page, and examples follow the same order. The order of headings assigned to an individual title may vary according to the emphasis of the item and its classification (cf. H 80).

1. Art by more than one artist

a. General. Assign the appropriate combination of headings to bring out the following aspects of the art:


650 #0 $a [art form with national, regional, ethnic or religious qualifier] $z [place of origin] $y [period subdivision].

650 #0 $a [art form with period qualifier] $z [place of origin].

650 #0 $a [style, movement, etc.] $z [place of origin].

650 #0 $a [theme].

650 #0 $a [art form] $z [present location].

6XX XX $a [owner].

6XX XX $a [other headings as appropriate].


Do not assign special form subdivisions to bring out the fact that the work being cataloged consists of photographic reproductions or illustrations of art works.

Use the subdivision –History only for headings assigned to general, all-inclusive items, for example, PaintingHistory. Do not use –History for materials limited to one country nor under form subdivisions of the type –Art; –Illustrations; –Portraits; etc. The subdivision –History and criticism is not used with art headings.

b. Art form. Use the most specific heading available to designate the art form, for example, Sculpture; Metal sculpture; Iron sculpture. Use the heading Art for works about fine art in general or for works discussing collectively the visual arts (fine art, architecture and decorative arts). Also use the heading Art if three or more forms of fine art are discussed and no single form predominates. Use the heading Arts for works discussing collectively the visual arts, performing arts and/or literature. Add a qualifier to the heading for art form if the artists have a specific national, ethnic, or religious affiliation. A qualifier may also be added for regions larger than a country. More than one heading of this type may be assigned where the artists belong to more than one of these groups, for example, Indic Buddhist artists, American Jewish artists. Headings for art form with national, ethnic, or religious qualifier may be further subdivided geographically where appropriate. Examples:


650 #0 $a Landscape painting, Canadian $z Ontario.

650 #0 $a Painting, Basque $z Spain $z Azcoitia.

650 #0 $a Italian American arts $z Pennsylvania.

650 #0 $a Jesuit art $z Asia.

650 #0 $a Art, Latin American.


c. Place of origin. Use geographic subdivision to show the place of origin of the art for the following types of headings: art form with national, ethnic or religious qualifier; art form with period qualifier (except qualifier Modern); headings for style or movement. Examples:


650 #0 $a Portrait painting, American $z New England.

650 #0 $a Painting, Basque $z Spain $z Bilbao.

650 #0 $a Art, Hindu $z India $z Madras.

650 #0 $a Sculpture, Ancient $z Middle East.

650 #0 $a Romanticism in art $z Europe.

650 #0 $a Futurism (Art) $z Italy.


Do not subdivide by place if:

   the heading has a qualifier for the nationality of the artists and that qualifier implies the same place as the origin of the art. Example:

650 #0 $a Painting, French.

[not 650 #0 $a Painting, French $z France]

[not 650 #0 $a Painting, French $z France]


To bring out special locations in countries, however, subdivide the qualified heading by place, for example, Painting, FrenchFranceParis.

   the heading has a qualifier for ethnic group and the place of origin is identical to the entire native area of the group.

650 #0 $a Art, Maori.

[not 650 #0 $a Art, Maori $z New Zealand]

   the heading for place is implied by the heading assigned to bring out the period, for example, Art, Medieval, which stands for the art of medieval Europe, so that no further indication of Europe is necessary.

cd. Historical period. For works about art of a particular period assign a heading that reflects the chronological focus of the work. The most commonly used headings for historical periods are headings for art form with period qualifier and/or subdivision; headings for art form qualified by place or ethnic group with period subdivision; or headings for style or movement. If a period art heading cannot be formulated for a particular title, use other types of headings to express the period, such as history headings, names of dynasties, etc.


(1) Modern period (post 1500).

(a) Art of particular places or ethnic groups. Assign a heading for the art form with the appropriate national, regional, or ethnic qualifier, using established chronological subdivisions or subdivisions from the free-floating lists of subdivisions in H 1148. For works on the modern period in general (1500 to present) assign the national, regional, or ethnic heading without period subdivision. If geographic subdivision is used to show a specific locality, the geographic subdivision precedes any chronological subdivision.



650 #0 $a Landscape painting, Austrian $y 20th century.

650 #0 $a Art, Japanese $z Japan $z Tokyo $y Edo period, 1600-1868.


(b) Art not limited by place or ethnic group. Assign a heading for the art form without qualifier (or with the qualifier Modern), including further century subdivision as appropriate. Omit this heading if a heading assigned for style or movement implies the art form and the period or century. Examples:


650 #0 $a Sculpture, Modern.

650 #0 $a Painting, Modern $y 19th century.

650 #0 $a Drawing $y 17th century.


(2) Pre-1500 art. 

(a) Art of particular places or ethnic groups. Assign a heading for the art form with the appropriate national, regional, or ethnic qualifier, using established chronological subdivisions or subdivisions from the free-floating lists of subdivisions in H 1148 as appropriate. Except for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean art, chronological subdivisions are generally not used for periods prior to the 10th century. If appropriate, also assign a heading for the art form with period qualifier, subdivided by place, for example, Sculpture, Medieval–France–Burgundy; Art, Ancient–India. Omit the heading with period qualifier if a heading assigned for style or movement implies the art form and the period. If geographic subdivision is used to show a specific locality, the geographic subdivision precedes any chronological subdivision, for example, Sculpture, French–France–Burgundy–12th century.

(b) Art not limited by place or ethnic group. Assign a heading for the art form with the appropriate period qualifier or established period subdivision, for example, Marble sculpture, Medieval; Drawing–15th century. Omit this heading if a heading assigned for style or movement implies the art form and the period or century.

de. Style, movement, etc. Assign a heading to show the style or movement to which the art belongs. Style is understood as a combination of artistic elements that together constitute a manner of expression characteristic of a certain time period and culture. The style may be characterized more narrowly as a movement if the particular manner of expression is the result of artists working toward common goals and under the same set of conventions.



650 #0 $a Art, Carolingian.

650 #0 $a Cubism.

650 #0 $a Impressionism (Art)

650 #0 $a Prints, Victorian.

650 #0 $a Naturalism in art.

f. Theme. Assign a heading for theme if the art focuses on a readily identifiable theme clearly intended by the artist as a central subject (person, place, event, concept, etc.). Examples:


600 00 $a Mary, $c Blessed Virgin, Saint $x Art.

600 10 $a Washington, George, $d 1732-1799 $x Portraits.

650 #0 $a Flags in art.

651 #0 $a Paris (France) $x In art.

650 #0 $a World War, 1939-1945 $x Art and the war.

Assign headings of the type Christian art and symbolism, Jewish art and symbolism, etc., to works about art that depicts facts or symbols of a particular religion. Do not assign these headings to works about art that is merely religious in nature, such as medieval paintings; assign them only when the artists involved clearly intended to demonstrate facts of the particular religion.

g. Location. Assign the unqualified heading for the art form with geographic subdivision for the present permanent location of the art, for example, PaintingPennsylvaniaPhiladelphia.

Note: Exhibition catalogs do not receive a heading for location, unless the works are all permanently located in one place.

h. Ownership. If the art is permanently housed in or owned by a particular institution, assign a heading for the institution. If the art belongs to a collection named in the work, assign a heading for the collection. For more specific instructions concerning headings for private collections, see H 1427.

Note: For art works owned by one institution and exhibited in another institution, assign a heading for the owner-institution, not the institution in which the art is temporarily exhibited.

If illustrations of the art discussed belong to a named collection, assign an appropriate heading for the collection and another heading for the institution in which the illustrations are housed.

i. Examples.

Title:   20th century art of Kansas.

650 #0 $a Art, American $z Kansas $y 20th century.


Title:   Islamic art from Egypt in the Metropolitan Museum.

650 #0 $a Art, Egyptian.

650 #0 $a Art, Islamic $z Egypt.

650 #0 $a Art $z New York (State) $z New York.

610 20 $a Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)


Title:   Colonial Mexican sculpture of Puebla state in Mexico City collections.

650 #0 $a Sculpture, Mexican $z Mexico $z Puebla (State)

650 #0 $a Sculpture, Colonial $z Mexico $z Puebla (State)

650 #0 $a Sculpture $z Mexico $z Mexico City.


Title:   Korean art of the 19th century.

650 #0 $a Art, Korean $y Yi dynasty, 1392-1910.


Title:   Newar art during the Malla period.

650 #0 $a Art, Newari.

600 30 $a Malla dynasty.


Title:   Catalog of 19th century American Victorian painting on the theme of love in the Corcoran Gallery.

650 #0 $a Painting, American $y 19th century $v Catalogs.

650 #0 $a Painting, Victorian $z United States $v Catalogs.

650 #0 $a Love in art $v Catalogs.

650 #0 $a Painting $z Washington (D.C.) $v Catalogs.

610 20 $a Corcoran Gallery of Art $v Catalogs.


Title:   The Jan Smith Photograph Collection in the Corcoran Gallery : photographs of French paintings.

650 #0 $a Painting, French.

600 10 $a Smith, Jan $x Photograph collections.

650 #0 $a Photograph collections $z Washington (D.C.)

610 20 $a Corcoran Gallery of Art.


Title:   Catalog of reproductions of paintings, 1860-1979.

650 #0 $a Painting, Modern $y 19th century $v Catalogs.

650 #0 $a Painting, Modern $y 20th century $v Catalogs.


Title:   Early Romantic painting : the late 18th century.

650 #0 $a Painting, Modern $y 18th century.

650 #0 $a Romanticism in art.


Title:   French sculpture of the 13th century.

650 #0 $a Sculpture, French $y 13th century.

650 #0 $a Sculpture, Medieval $z France.


Title:   Dada : a bibliography.

650 #0 $a Dadaism $v Bibliography.


Title:   Romanesque mural painting.

650 #0 $a Mural painting and decoration, Romanesque.


Title:   Victorian painting : the Edmund J. and Suzanne McCormick Collection : an exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art.

650 #0 $a Painting, British $y 19th century $v Exhibitions.

650 #0 $a Painting, Victorian $z Great Britain $v Exhibitions.

600 10 $a McCormick, Edmund J. $x Art collections $v Exhibitions.

600 10 $a McCormick, Suzanne $x Art collections $v Exhibitions.

650 #0 $a Painting $x Private collections $z United States $v Exhibitions.


Title:   German expressionism from Milwaukee collections : an exhibition of paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture.

650 #0 $a Art, German $y 20th century $v Exhibitions.

650 #0 $a Expressionism (Art) $z Germany $v Exhibitions.

650 #0 $a Art $z Wisconsin $z Milwaukee $v Exhibitions.


Title:   1969 acquisitions of the Pasadena Art Museum : an exhibition of modern painting, sculpture, drawings, prints, and photography.

650 #0 $a Art, Modern $y 20th century $v Exhibitions.

650 #0 $a Art $z California $z Pasadena $v Exhibitions.

610 20 $a Pasadena Art Museum $v Exhibitions.


Title:   The cultural avant-garde of the 70s in Quebec : art, music, literature and theater.

650 #0 $a Arts, French–Canadian $z Québec (Province) $y 20th century.

650 #0 $a Avant-garde (Aesthetics) $z Québec (Province) $x History $y 20th century.


Title:   Catalog of sculptured portraits of Greek statesmen in the J. Paul Getty Museum.

650 #0 $a Portrait sculpture, Greek $v Catalogs.

650 #0 $a Portrait sculpture, Ancient $z Greece $v Catalogs.

650 #0 $a Statesmen $z Greece $x Portraits $v Catalogs.

650 #0 $a Portrait sculpture $z California $z Malibu $v Catalogs.

610 20 $a J. Paul Getty Museum $v Catalogs.


Title:   Painting in Europe, 800 to 1200.

650 #0 $a Painting, Medieval.


Title:   Prints & drawings : a pictorial history.

650 #0 $a Prints $x History.

650 #0 $a Drawing $x History.


Title:   Jewish artists in Britain, 1900-1945.

650 #0 $a Art, British $y 20th century.

650 #0 $a Art, Jewish $z Great Britain.


Title:   Religious symbolism in the art of 13th century France.

650 #0 $a Art, French $y 13th century.

650 #0 $a Art, High Gothic $z France.

650 #0 $a Christian art and symbolism $z France $y Medieval, 500-1500.

2. Art by a single artist.
a. General. Assign the name of the artist as the first heading to works that deal with several examples of art by a single artist. Use free-floating subdivisions from H 1110 as appropriate. Assign additional headings for style or movement, theme, location, and ownership in accordance with the instructions for art by more than one artist. If the work being cataloged includes biographical information assign also any headings required for that aspect in accordance with instructions in H 1330.

b. Artists as illustrators. Do not assign art subject headings to the work if all three of the following conditions occur: (1) the artist's work is used for illustration; (2) the main entry is the author of the text; and (3) the artist is not the subject of the text.

c. Examples.

Title:   Rembrandt's drawings.

600 00 $a Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, $d 1606-1669.


Title:   Kenneth Clark discusses Rembrandt's drawings.

600 00 $a Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, $d 1606-1669 $x Criticism and interpretation.


Title:   Edvard Munch, expressionist artist, 1900-1940 : an exhibition of drawings, paintings and prints.

600 10 $a Munch, Edvard, $d 1863-1944 $v Exhibitions.

650 #0 $a Expressionism (Art) $z Norway $v Exhibitions.


Title:   Kunisada, an artist in the Kabuki theatre : an exhibition of the Japanese prints in the Antell Collection.

600 10 $a Utagawa, Toyokuni, $d 1786-1865 $v Exhibitions.

650 #0 $a Kabuki in art $v Exhibitions.

600 10 $a Antell, H. F. $x Art collections $v Exhibitions.

650 #0 $a Color prints $x Private collections $z Finland $z Helsinki $v Exhibitions.


Title:   Giacometti's Paris : lithographs.

600 10 $a Giacometti, Alberto, $d 1901-1966.

651 #0 $a Paris (France) $x In art.


Title:   Clyde Connell : the art and life of a Louisiana woman.

600 10 $a Connell, Clyde, $d 1901-

650 #0 $a Sculptors $z Louisiana $v Biography.


Title:   Paul Klee's paintings in the Phillips Collection : a catalog.

600 10 $a Klee, Paul, $d 1879-1940 $v Catalogs.

650 #0 $a Painting $z Washington (D.C.) $v Catalogs.

610 20 $a Phillips Collection $v Catalogs.


Title:   Auguries of innocence.

[poetry by William Blake; wood engravings by Leonard Baskin]

[no subject]


Title:   Eight aquatints by Shirley Jones illustrating eight passages from Beowulf. [main entry under Jones]

600 10 $a Jones, Shirley.

630 00 $a Beowulf $v Illustrations.

3. Single art works.
a. Rules for assignment of headings. Assign the name of the art work as the first subject heading to works about a single art work. Assign as additional headings the same types of headings that would be assigned to works about art by a single artist. Assign headings for location and ownership only when this information is easily found in the work being cataloged. Do not do research in other sources specifically to determine location or ownership.

b. Examples.

Title:   Ernst, Pietà or revolution by night.

600 10 $a Ernst, Max, $d 1891-1976. $t Pietà.

650 #0 $a Surrealism $z Germany.

650 #0 $a Painting $z England $z London.

610 20 $a Tate Gallery.


Title:   The Venus de Milo.

630 00 $a Venus de Milo

650 #0 $a Aphrodite (Greek deity) $x Art.

650 #0 $a Marble sculpture $z France $z Paris.

610 20 $a Musée du Louvre.