Index of Christian Art, 1917-1991
- 1917-1991 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Card catalogs and photograph files representing approximately 200,000 objects
Name of creator
Princeton University. Department of Art and Archaeology. Index of Christian Art (1917-present)
Founded in 1917 by Charles Rufus Morey, the Index is a thematic and iconographic index of early Christian and medieval art objects, primarily before 1400 CE. The original card file with photographs held in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. Additional copies are located at: Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.; The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles; and the Library of Arts and Humanities, Utrecht University, Holland. A fourth copy is still housed in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana in Rome, Italy, but has not been maintained since 2005. Since 1991, the Index has also been available online: http://ica.princeton.edu/.
Name of creator
Morey, Charles Rufus (1877-1955)
American Medieval art historian. Founder of the Index of Christian Art. Morey was chairman of the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University from 1924 to 1945.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Robert and Mildred Bliss purchased a copy of the Index of Christian Art, for Dumbarton Oaks, from Princeton University in 1938. See Allied Materials Area for more information.
Content and structure area
Scope and content
A thematic and iconographic index of early Christian and medieval art objects, primarily before 1400 CE. This Index records works of art depicting a Christian theme or context, in seventeen different media, including manuscripts, metalwork, sculpture, painting, and glass. Works are from around the world, with an emphasis on Western art. Records include information such as artist's name, title of work, medium, and provenance. In addition, Index records provide bibliographic citations and location of reproductions. Bibliographic citations cover art history, archaeology, religious and classical studies.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
It is arranged in two separate file formats: subject cards and photographs. The Subject Files are a thematic index to the photographs. The cards are filed alphabetically on an iconographical basis starting with Alpha and Omega and ending with Zwentibold of Lorraine (a saintly bishop of the tenth century). There are over 28,000 subject terms which deal predominantly with Christian iconography but which also cover the entire range of medieval art. Each work of art has a primary subject, which relates to the first scene described. Other subjects on the work are found under secondary terms (cross-references) on separate cards. The subject cards refer users to the photographs which comprise some 200,000 images, each with brief accompanying data on the work of art. Also listed on the photograph is a reference to the secondary subject terms. The black and white photographs are filed according to medium and current location (city or town).
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Access to the collection is unrestricted. It is available for research purposes. Appointment is required for access because researcher space is limited: http://www.doaks.org/icfa-appointment-request-form. Researchers are also encouraged to consult the online version to familiarize themselves with iconographic subject terms used in the Index, which is also available on-site at Dumbarton Oaks: http://ica.princeton.edu/index.php.
Conditions governing reproduction
Photographs are for research and study purposes only. Dumbarton Oaks does not hold copyright to any of the images in the Index. Permission to reproduce the images must be requested from the relevant source.
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
The original Index of Christian Art is housed in the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University.
Existence and location of copies
Since 1991, the Index files have been progressively made available through an online database, as well as approximately 120,000 images of objects: http://ica.princeton.edu/index.php. Additionally, three physical copies may be consulted at Dumbarton Oaks, The Getty Research Institute, and the Universiteitsbibliotheek Utrecht.
Related units of description
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
Level of detail
- The Index of Christian Art website: http://ica.princeton.edu/index.php
Materials are for research and study purposes only.