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ART 100W

Art 100W - art writing

Citing Works of Art in MLA style

These guidelines for citing paintings, photographs, sculptures, and other works of art come from the latest edition of the MLA Handbook. Your instructor may have different guidelines for citing images. Consult your instructor or check your assignment to determine the format your instructor would like you to follow. 

This is a quick citation resource offering general guidelines that will apply in many—but not all—cases. If you have a question about how to cite a particular item, contact your librarian or visit the Writing Center for support.

Art viewed in person or online

A works cited entry for paintings, photographs, sculptures, or other works of art should include:

  • the artist’s name 
  • title of the work (in italics)
  • date of creation or completion
  • information about the medium
  • the name of the institution that houses the artwork followed by the location of the institution (if the location is not listed in the name of the institution, e.g., The Art Institute of Chicago).

For works consulted online, add a URL.

Examples:

Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800, oil on canvas, Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Lange, Dorthea. Black Maria, Oakland, 1957, printed 1965, gelatin silver print, The Art Institute of Chicago, http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/220174.

Reproductions of artwork (images of artwork in a book)

For photographic reproductions of artwork (e.g. images of artwork in a book), treat the book or website as a container. Cite the bibliographic information as above followed by the information for the source in which the photograph appears, including page or reference numbers (plate, figure, etc.).

Example:

Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Gardener's Art Through the Ages, 10th ed., by Richard G. Tansey and Fred S. Kleiner, Harcourt Brace, p. 939.