Index of Christian Art
The Index of Christian Art, also known as the Princeton Index, is 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. A limited number of records in the electronic database include color images of the work being referenced. Bibliographic citations cover art history, archaeology, religious and classical studies.
Produced at Princeton University since 1917, the Index corresponds to a manual card file with photographs held at Princeton; Dumbarton Oaks in Washington DC; The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles; and the Library of Arts and Humanities, Utrecht University, Holland. Since 1991, new records have been entered into an electronic database, and work continues on converting the catalog and photographs into the electronic database. For full coverage of a topic, both the card files and the database must be accessed. The online database may be accessed on-site while users are in the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library.
Using the Index
Dumbarton Oaks' copy of the Index is located in the Image Collections & Fieldwork Archives on the second floor of the Library. 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).