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Citation Guide- MLA: Citation for Art

Essential information to become a successful "citer"

Example Image Citation

... these subtle shifts in color gradients produce a naturalistic effect and are well demonstrated in Da Vinci's famous painting of the 'Mona Lisa' (see fig. 1).


Image of the Mona Lisa

Fig. 1. Leonardo Da Vinci, Mona Lisa, c.1503-1519, Oil on wood (poplar) 




Example of how to cite your own image

... I really tried to show perspective in the photograph and also capture the early morning light (see fig. 2).

Cat by campus lake

Fig. 2. Cat by campus lake, 2021, Digital image. Candidates personal collection.




Example of how to cite a photograph you took at a gallery

The contrast between the black and blue of O'Keeffe's flowers makes both images more vivid (see fig. 3).

Black Hollyhock Blue Larkspur - O'Keeffe

Fig. 3. Georgia O’Keeffe, Black Hollyhock Blue Larkspur, 1930, Oil on Canvas [My photograph of the artwork]




Citing an image in the Process Journal and Comparative Study

Image citations for the visual arts are expected to include the artist, title, date, medium, and source (the full source information can go in the works cited list).

The information should be presented with the following elements:

  • Fig. - This is short for Figure
  • Number - Start with 1 for the first figure and then 2, 3, etc.
  • Caption - Artist, Title, Date, Medium


Please look at the example on the left to identify these elements. 


The complete citation in the works cited list will also include further details including the website the image was contained in, the link to the website, and the date the image was accessed.


Works Cited

Da Vinci, Leonardo. Mona Lisa. 1503-1519, oil on wood (poplar). Louvre, Accessed 24 Aug. 2021.





Citing your own image 

Identify and acknowledge your own original art work the same way you identify and acknowledge the works of others.


Because work you submit must be anonymous you can do this by writing something like 'Candidate's photograph' and 'Candidate's personal collection'. You should also give the work's title, date, and medium - see the example.










Citing an image you took at a gallery

The important thing here is to be clear who made the artwork in the photograph.  Therefore the artist's name should be included first.  If you need to clarify that it is your own image of the artwork put this information at the end of the figure citation in brackets.


The works cited list only needs the original art citation (see example below).


Works Cited

O’Keeffe, Georgia. Black Hollyhock Blue Larkspur. 1930, Oil on Canvas, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe.




Common examples of art citation

OSLIS Citation generator is the most comprehensive tool for creating full image citations.  NoodleTools can support you with works of art seen in person but the image citation is basic and you will have to manually add details if your source was an article or webpage.  Another option is to just cite the webpages and articles and clearly link these to the image you have used after the image caption by writing 'from:' and giving the article details.

When writing the caption: If you do not have an artist or a date leave this information out.  if the artwork has no title please give a brief description instead.

Artwork Viewed in person

Last Name of Artist, First Name. Title of Art.  Date, Medium, Institution (Gallery/Museum), Name of city where the art work or collection is located. Medium.



O’Keeffe, Georgia. Black Hollyhock Blue Larkspur. 1930, Oil on Canvas, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe.

Image from Instagram 

Last Name, First Name [online handle if this differs from account name]. Photo title or description of image. Instagram, date of post, Medium. URL. Date of Access.



KraztKatz23. Mr Tibbles playing with a mouse. Instagram, 23rd April 2021, digital image. Accessed 9th December 2021.