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The reference collection is on the 2nd floor of the library, behind the reference desk. Conveniently, there will be a librarian at the reference desk who can help you use this collection!
Are you writing about a specific artwork at the Metropolitan Museum?
We have reference books that specifically discuss many of the Met's works:
The Cloisters by Peter Barnet; Nancy Y. Wu; Cloisters (Museum) Staff (Contribution by)
Call Number: REF N611 .C6 A85 2012
Publication Date: 2012-11-01
Masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Barbara Burn
Call Number: REF N610 .A6742 1993
Publication Date: 1997-06-01
Great paintings from the Metropolitan Museum of Art; a selection from the European collections, presented by the curatorial staff by Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)
Call Number: REF N610 .A6735
Publication Date: 1959
Guide to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)
Call Number: REF N610 .A6737
Publication Date: 1972
The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide by Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) Staff (Contribution by)
Call Number: REF N610 .A6744 2012
Publication Date: 2012-04-01
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York by Licia Ragghianti Collobi; Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.) Staff (Contribution by)
Call Number: REF N610 .M47
Publication Date: 1978-01-01
Max Weber (1907)
How are the art reference books organized?
It can be helpful to start your research by browsing the relevant section of the reference collection.
You can find information on a work of art by looking at reference books on that type of artwork (such as sculpture, painting, drawing, etc.). Thankfully, the reference collection is organized that way! The entire "N" section in the reference collection is devoted to visual art. Take a look at the following list of sub-sections of the "N" classification:
NA -- Architecture
NB -- Sculpture
NC -- Drawing. Design. Illustration
ND -- Painting
NE -- Print media
NK -- Decorative arts
So, for example, if you are looking for information on the French painter Paul Gauguin, you may want to browse the "ND" section of the reference collection (which is the section for painting) for books on French painters, or on books on post-Impressionist painters. Some of these reference books will likely have information about Paul Gauguin and his paintings.
To find what you need, check the book's index for the name of the artist, or for the name of the painting, you are interested in.