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Art, Art History, and Design: Citing Sources

How to find books, articles, and images.

Citation Styles

covercoverThe citation styles most commonly used in art-related disciplines are MLA (Modern Language Association) and Chicago (Chicago Manual of Style).  To cite standard materials, follow the examples here.  (Within Chicago, the "Notes and Bibliography" system is generally used in arts and humanities disciplines.)

To cite images, give this information (at a minimum):

  • Artist name
  • Title (if none is given, create a brief descriptive one, such as Photograph of woman in red hat)
  • Date created
  • Repository (museum, library, other owning institution or individual)
  • Source (book, postcard, website, database, vendor, etc.)
    • If viewed online, date accessed

Unusual Sources


shows how to cite many unusual sources, such as cartoons, interviews, letters, and live performances.  Choose the tab for "All 59 options."

Audiovisual Citation Guidelines

has examples from a wide variety of media formats, including podcasts and games.

The AAE (Association of Art Editors) Style Guide

aligns with the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. It includes specialized topics, such as citing the text on a card next to a painting in a museum.  Click on the Style Guide link in the left frame.


Citing Images - MLA Style

Product Details

Image reproduced from a printed source

Artist’s last name, first name. Title of art work, in italics. Date of art work. Medium.  Institution where art work is housed (if known), city where housed if not already named. Title of printed source, in italics. By Author of printed source. Place of publication: publisher, date. Page or plate/figure/slide number. Print.

Rousseau, Henri.  The Ship in the Storm.  1896.  Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris.  Henri Rousseau:  Jungles in Paris.  By Claire Fresches, et al.  Washington:  National Gallery of Art, 2006.  232.  Print.

Image from an electronic source:

Artist's last name, first name.  Title of Art Work in Italics.  Date of art work.  Institution where art work is housed (if known),  City where art work is housed (if not already named).  Database or website name.  Web.  Day month year accessed.

Image from ARTstor

Cassatt, Mary.  Denise at Her Dressing Table.  ca. 1908-09.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.  ARTstor.  Web. 18 June 2015. <>.

Image found on the open Web

Citation includes: Artist. Title of Work. Date of Work. Museum or Collection, City. Database/Web Site. Date Accessed. URL (optional).

Backhuyzen, Ludolf.  A Battle at Sea.  1692.  J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA.  The Getty.  Web.  18 June 2015.

Image from a Library Database

If known, the collection which owns the image should be included, along with its location.

De Chirico, Giorgio.  Soothsayer’s Recompense.  1913.  Philadelphia (PA) Museum of Art.  Grove Art Online.  Web.  18 June 2015.

Work of Art viewed in person at a Museum 

Citation includes: Artist. Title of Work. Date of Work. Medium of Composition. Museum, City where Museum is located.

Atget, Jean-Eugène-Auguste.  Boulevard de Strasbourg (Corsets). 1912.  Photograph.  Art Institute of Chicago.

Goya, Francisco.  The Family of Charles IV.  1800.  Oil on Canvas.  Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Citing Images - Chicago Style

Product Details

Include the artist’s name, title of work (italicized), date, medium, measurements, and the institution which houses the work.

Include the source the image came from, preceded by a statement which declares the source (for example “In;” or “Source:” or “Available from:”).  If the source is online, include the URL and the date accessed.

Image from a Book:

Alice Neel, Nancy and the Rubber Plant.  1975, Oil on canvas, 203.2 x 91.3 cm.  The Estate of Alice Neel.  From:  Ann Temkin et al.  Alice Neel.  New York:  Harry N. Abrams, 2000.  Plate 64.

Image from ARTstor:

Rogier van der Weyden, Saint Catherine of Alexandria.  1430-1432, Diptych panel, 18.5 x 12 cm.  Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria.  Available from:  ARTstor, (accessed June 19, 2015).

Image from Museum Website:

Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi). The Musicians. Ca. 1595. Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 46 5/8 in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. From: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (accessed June 19, 2015).

Image from Flickr Commons:

Thomas Eakins, William Rudolf O’Donovan.  1981, Black and while photographic print, 6 x 8 cm.  Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.  Available from:  Flickr Commons, http:// (accessed June 19, 2015)

Image from Flickr (personal images uploaded by individuals)

Friedrich von Schmidt, Vienna Rathaus.  1872-1883. Source:  -keka-, Rathaus, Vienna.  2014.  Digital Image.  Available from:  Flickr, (accessed June 19, 2015)