Visual Arts: Images

Locate images from a variety of resources in the Library collection and freely available online

Image sources

There are many possible sources of images. For example:

  • books
  • journals
  • exhibition catalogues
  • films
  • websites
  • organisations
  • images available online via the Library catalogue
  • searchable image databases

The Library has purchased access to hundreds of thousands of images while many more are freely accessible. There are also companies which sell images.

In focus... Body parts

Looking for images of body parts? Try searching the Library Catalogue - for example: "human figure in art"

You can also browse the collection using the numbers in brackets

  • iconography - human figures (704.942)
  • drawing - human figure (743.4)
  • tattooing (391.65)
  • portrait photography (779.2)
  • medical imagery (610-619)
  • religious imagery
  • how the figure has been represented in various styles e.g. Cubism (best to search on a style/artist, but could browse 709)
  • representation of the figure in visual communication e.g. posters, TV advertising (741.6)
  • cartoons

You can also look for images in the other places featured on this page, such as Wellcome Images.

In focus ... Maps

Trove - Pictures, Photos, Objects

Violet Teague, 'Flinders Ranges', 1933, watercolour on paper [out of copyright, Image Source: State Library of Victoria,]

Violet Teague 1933, 'Flinders Ranges', watercolour on paper, 13.2cm x 18.3cm

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on

Image Databases

The Library subscribes to several databases which feature images. Select one of the tabs above to view some examples or go to our list of databases relevant for Art Images

ARTstor logo [Image courtesy of ARTstor]

Access ARTstor - provides access to over one million high resolution images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and social sciences. Images are relevant to a variety of areas including visual art, architecture, fashion and costume, architecture and design.

Search by title/creator (e.g. artist/architect) or browse by geography, classification (e.g. Prints) and year. Unfortunately you can't search by topic (e.g. face, street). For example:

  • images of work by Louise Bourgeois, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Judy Chicago, Marcel Duchamp, Jackson Pollock

Features include the ability to zoom in to detail, download images into PowerPoint presentations and export citation data to bibliographic management software such as EndNote. Register for a free account to save images for later use and create image groups. More about ARTstor


Lake Carnegie, Western Australia, May 19, 1999 [UPI/NASA, "Lake of Western Australia pictured by NASA', Image Source: EBSCOhost Image Database, Public Domain]Access 510,000+ images - people, natural science, places, historical, maps and flags, with an emphasis on world news and events

To access EBSCOhost Image Collection:

       Selecting EBSCOhost Image Collection [Image Source: UniSA Library and EBSCOhost]

Oxford Art Online

Oxford Art Online offers access to the most authoritative, inclusive, and easily searchable online art resources available today.

Use the search box on the home page to enter keywords. You can then refine your results to Format: Image

See the Tools and Resources section for links to:

  • Subject Guides each guide includes a brief introduction to a popular topic in visual arts, with links to key essays and biographies as well as external resources;
  • Timelines of World Art which offer overviews of the development of the visual arts across the globe, organised into 6 geographic regions;
  • and more...
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Wellcome Images



Vitra Fire Station, Zaha Hadid Architects [Wojtek Gurak, 'Vitra Fire Station', CC Licence: CC BY-NC 2.0, Image Source: Flickr]Search a collection of over five billion photographs on this photo sharing site.

Contributors range from individuals to cultural institutions and government organisations such as NASA. Video content is also available.

A significant number of images, such as this one, are available under Creative Commons licenses.

Flickr Advanced Search allows you to refine your search by applying a number of limits. This includes the option to restrict your results to Creative Commons-licensed content.

Wikimedia Commons

Search across millions of media files. Most content is either in the public domain or available under a free license. Find out more here.

Browse functionality available from the home page allows exploration by diverse categories such as location, manufacturer, religion and shape.

[NASA, 'Cyclone Yasi 2 February 2011 approaching Queensland', public domain, Image Source: Wikimedia Commons]

For example...

Search: Yasi

Browse: Topic> Nature> Weather> Weather by country> Weather of Australia> Australian tropical cyclones> Australian region tropical cyclone seasons> 2010-11 Australian region cyclone season> Tropical Cyclone Yasi (2011)

Creative Commons Images