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An online compilation of bibliographic information about moving-image productions on the visual arts

Art on Screen is searchable online. Keyword searching provides access to titles, producers, directors, writers, editors, animators, narrators, composers, synopses, as well as language, genre, intended audience, reviews, and awards. Detailed subject indexing allows researchers to retrieve data by artist's name, by style or period, by materials or techniques, by film genre, or by associated concepts. Approximately one-third of the entries include a critical evaluation or references to published reviews and festival awards.


Most of the films documented in this database were produced between 1970 and 1998, with selective coverage of productions from 1915 to 1969. Each of the roughly 26,000 citations includes a synopsis, credits, country, language, production date, format, and other filmographic data. The last addition to the database was made in 1998.

The database includes productions from more than 70 countries. Subjects covered include fine arts (painting, sculpture, drawing), architecture, archaeology, photography, decorative arts, design, costume, crafts, folk arts, and related topics such as aesthetics and creativity. Media formats covered include film, video, videodisc, multimedia, and CD-ROM productions.

The database does not provide information about how to locate copies of the productions or where to view them.

History of the Database

Art on Screen was produced by the Program for Art on Film, a joint venture of the J. Paul Getty Trust and the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1984 to 1994. The Program was subsequently incorporated as an independent nonprofit corporation. The organization fostered new ways of thinking about the visual arts and moving-image media, and served as an information resource to support the effective production and use of media on the visual arts.

Much of this data has appeared in various print publications, including Films and Videos on Photography (Program for Art on Film, 1991), Art on Screen (G.K. Hall, 1992), and Architecture on Screen (G.K. Hall, 1993). A CD-ROM of the data compiled through 1994 was published by G.K. Hall/Macmillan (1995).

The J. Paul Getty Trust Institutional Archives (a department within the Getty Research Institute) acquired the Art on Screen database in 2006 as part of the surviving records of the Program for Art on Film. The administrative records and products of the organization may be studied in the Research Library at the Getty Research Institute, and a finding aid is available.

To use Institutional Archives holdings, please contact Library Reference. Researchers who qualify as stack readers may consult institutional archives collections in the special collections reading room. Requests to use institutional archives collections should be made at least two weeks in advance. Hours are Monday–Friday, 9:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m.