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SSI1-123: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Lives of Art & Politics: Artstor & Working with Images

Getting Started with Artstor Digital Library

The Artstor Digital Library ( is a resource containing over 2.5 million images from the world's museums, archives, libraries, scholars, and artists. Use Artstor to find images for papers, presentations, and study in the humanities. There's also a set of tools for sharing images, curating groups of images, downloading them directly into PowerPoint presentations, and comparing and contrasting images.

You must register for an account to use many of Artstor’s features, such as downloading images, curating groups of images, and downloading groups of images to PowerPoint. Images in Artstor come from a wide range of sources, and many of them are under copyright. Registered accounts ensure that Artstor meets its agreements with image contributors and protect their content, and also enable you to assembled personalized content like image groups.

To register, navigate to the Collins Library link to Artstor, then register by filling out the brief form.  Be sure to login to Artstor every time you visit to make full use of its resources.

Artstor provides detailed online documentation.  If you have any questions that aren't answered on this page, try the Artstor Quick Start Guide or the Artstor Knowledgebase.

Finding Images: An Overview

Artstor allows you to search over 270 collections from the world's museums, archives, libraries, artists, and scholars all in one place.

There are different ways you can search for content in Artstor:

  • Browse by geography, classification, or collection
  • Keyword and filtered search
  • Advanced search

Advanced Search

Use advanced search when you know what you are looking for. Select one or several keywords, such as an artist’s name or a specific work, and choose which metadata fields you would like to search (default is to search all fields).

If you are looking for works from a specific period and location, you can conduct an advanced search without keywords and limit by date, geography, and classification. For example, if you are looking for paintings from the Italian Renaissance, you could conduct the following search:

The search results will include all the paintings in Artstor created by Italian artists between 1400 and 1600. You can link to your search results by copying the URL for the search from your browser's address bar. The URL for this search would be:*;startDate=1400;endDate=1600;geography=1000080;classification=401010

Image Groups in Artstor

Groups allow any registered user to save items to share, export, and add descriptive information. You can create, edit, and delete your Private or Institutional groups.

Professor John Lear has created and shared several image groups for this course.  To access these image groups, follow these steps:

  • Make sure you are logged in to Artstor.
  • Using the "Browse" drop-down menu, select "image groups."
  • On the left nav bar, under "Groups," select "All." 
  • In the search bar, type in "ssi 123" to get the list of results.

Creating an Image Group

  1. Log in to your Artstor account.
  2. Search for items or browse collections to find items for your group.
  3. Turn on Select mode by clicking on the checkmark icon . Click items to select them. Click again to de-select. Items will be saved to your Group in the order that you select them. There is a cap of 1,000 items per Image Group.
  4. In the menu click Organize > Save Selections to New Image group.
  5. In the dialog window:
    • Add a Group title
    • Add a Group description (optional)
    • Check the box to share the group with others at your institution (optional). If the box remains unchecked, the group will be private and viewable only with your user account login
    • Add tags (optional)

Working with and Citing Artstor Images

The detail page and fullscreen viewer allow you to open an item in a larger window, view its metadata, work closely with an image using the zoom, pan, rotate, or listen to audio or play a video. You can also download the item, and save an item to a group from the detail page.

A citation can be generated from the detail page for any asset in the Artstor Digital Library. Options for citation styles are MLA, APA and Chicago style.  However, you may need to adjust or revise the resulting citation to make sure it is in the proper format.  See the box below for further information.

MLA Style for Images

Works of art are sources in the same way that texts are sources.  This means that you need to include artwork in your "Works Cited" list and to reference artwork in in-text parenthetical citations.

Follow the general MLA guidelines for art, then add in additional information about online access.

Artist. Title of Work. Date of Composition or N.d. Medium. Dimensions. Collection. City where located. URL.  Date accessed.


The citation generator within Artstor provides the following:

Kahlo, Frida. Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird. 1940. Artstor,

Note that this is incomplete.  You need italicize the title of the work.  You also need to add in additional information, which you can get from the detail page within Artstor.  Here is the full citation in MLA style:

Kahlo, Frida.  Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird.  1940. Oil on masonite.  40x60cm. University of Texas at Austin. Artstor, Accessed September 11, 2018.

In-text citations:

Your in-text citations need to be keyed to your "Works Cited" list.

The first time you cite the image, provide the artist's surname and the full title:

(Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird)

If you are citing no other works by Kahlo that begin with "Self-Portrait," you can shorten subsequent in-text citations to just:

(Kahlo, Self-Portrait)

However, if you are citing more than one "Self-Portrait," then continue to use the full title.