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GSFA 199 Why Art?: Home

To what extent is art worthy of our time and contemplation? How does art relate to the business of everyday life? Does humanity need art?

Getting Started

For background information, start with an exhaustive reference work such as  Grove Art Online.  Both the 'Guided Tour' and 'Tips for Users' (available from the Home page) provide useful information on searching Grove/Oxford Art Online. The Oxford Companion to Western Art  edited by Hugh Brigstocke is also part of Oxford Art Online.

To place art and architecture in context from Ancient Egypt through the Enlightenment, consult Art and Humanities Through the Eras

Bibliographies located in books or at the end of journal articles can be very helpful.  To learn if Pepperdine has access to a particular journal, search for the name of the journal in the library catalog, or use the 'Access Databases and E-Journals' search feature on the Library's Web site.

ARTstor images for your paper

Courbet Still Life

Courbet, Gustave.  Still Life: Apples, pears, and primroses on a table. 1871-2. Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena.  ARTstor. Web. 6 May 2014.

Find images for your presentation or paper in the database, ARTstor.  Log on to ARTstor, create a personal account and create an image group.  Then view information on how to Export of Power Point  Helpful videos on using ARTstor can be found on UTube

You can search ARTstor by the name of an art work, by geography, by classification (for example, architecture), or by collection (for example, Art History Survey Collection).  Use the Advanced Search to limit by date.

Museum Websites

Finding Articles

These online sources are good places to locate scholarly journal articles.  You can also locate magazine articles, including reviews of exhibitions.

Specialized Online Encyclopedias


Elizabeth Parang's picture
Elizabeth Parang
Pepperdine University Libraries
24255 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, CA 90263


Founded in 1902, ARTnews is the oldest and most widely circulated art magazine in the world. ARTnews (available on Flipster) reports on the art, personalities, issues, trends and events shaping the international art world.  Recent news:

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Course Description

"Why Art?" : Pliny wrote in the second half of the first century CE, “…however beautiful [works of art] may be, we are distracted by the overpowering claims of duty and business; for to admire art we need leisure and profound stillness.” To what extent is art worthy of our time and contemplation? How does art relate to the business of everyday life? Does humanity need art? This course will explore the role of art in diverse cultures throughout history. Through visits to local museums and in-­­class discussions, we will investigate the origins and afterlives of artistic production and so deepen our understanding of the significance of art to humanity.