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Research Guides

Art History: Annotated Bibliography

A guide to the best Art History resources in Geisel Library and online.


An annotated bibliography is a selected list of citations to resources such as articles or books.

Each citation is accompanied by a brief description and critical assessment of the resource.


Your professor may offer specific instructions on how to format an annotated bibliography and what should be the special characteristics of the annotations. However, most annotated bibliographies have the following common format:

  • An organized list of citations, using Chicago-Turabian style.
  • An annotation following each citation. The annotation is usually no more than 150 words (or 4-6 sentences long) and does not have to be written in complete sentences. Depending on your assignment, annotations may include some or all of the following information:
    • A brief statement describing the main focus of the work
    • A brief statement about the author's credentials
    • An explanation of the intended audience
    • An explanation of why the work did or did not meet expectations
    • Special features of the work that are unique or helpful

Sample Annotation


(1) Hamerton, Philip Gilbert. Thoughts About Art. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1871.

(2.) Hamerton, the noted art critic and art book author, wrote this book as originally part of the "The Painter's Camp" and is worthy reading because of its suggestiveness. (3) Thus, some of the various ways in which different painters undertake their work are made clear in the chapters "Painting from Nature" and "Painting from Memoranda." (4) The general relation of art, and especially painting, to the general world of thought and perception is more plainly seen after a careful study of this book, especially in the chapters "Transcendentalism in Painting" and "Analysis and Synthesis." (5) The article is useful to my research topic, as an historical perspective on art by a famed art critic. (6) However, the main limitation of the book is that there are no illustrations to the art works described. This was generally to be understood by the readers of his time. (7)  Of interest is that general disregard and the common contempt for art among English-speaking people is well explained and its consequence pointed out. (8) This book will not form the basis of my research; however it will be useful supplementary information.


(1) Citation
(2) Introduction 
(3) Aims & Research methods
(4) Scope
(5) Usefulness (to your research/ to a particular topic)
(6) Limitations
(7) Conclusions
(8) Reflection (explain how this work illuminates your topic or how it will fit in with your research)

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