Skip to Main Content

Finding and Using Visual Resources

When and how to cite images

How do I cite an image or work of art?

When included in an academic paper or thesis, images and illustrations need to have proper citations. According to style manual guidelines, images, artwork, or photographs used in publications or papers should be accompanied by a caption. These captions are often compiled into a list of illustrations or an appendix. It is appropriate to include information about both the image and the source of the image in captions/notes and lists of illustrations/bibliographies. Images from print sources and electronic or web resources are sometimes cited differently.

The following recommendations outline how to cite images with an emphasis on works of art. Please note that these are only recommendations - check with your professor or advisor to determine which style your department requires and always consult a style manual or librarian to verify formatting guidelines.

You will need the following information about the image and its source to cite it properly:

Information about image

  • Artist name, if known
  • Title of the work, if known. If not, describe the image.
  • Work date
  • Repository (museum or archive) or owner of work
  • Location of repository or work
  • Dimensions of the work
  • Materials or medium (such as oil on canvas, marble, found objects, etc.)

Information about source

  • Institution granting permission for use (often owner or published source)
  • Author, title, publisher information, date, and page, figure or plate number of the reproduction if the image is from a book
  • Electronic resource or web site name, address (URL), and the date you retrieved the image

See additional pages under this tab for examples of citation styles.