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Although much progress has been made, current low-level based visual information retrieval technology does not allow users to formulate queries through high-level semantics. More and more digitized art images appear on the Internet, and techniques need to be established on how to organize and retrieve them. In this work, a framework for retrieving art images using an ontology-based method is introduced. The proposed ontology describes images in various aspects. Non-objectionable semantics are first introduced, and how to express these semantics is given. Concepts in the ontology could be automatically derived. The retrieval scheme makes users more naturally find visual information and experimental implementation demonstrates good potential on retrieving art images in a human-centered manner.