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Art Citation Guide

Captions & Figures

MLA: Labels, captions, and source information

Illustrations appear directly embedded in the document, except in the case of manuscripts that are being prepared for publication. (For preparing manuscripts with visual materials for publication, see Note on Manuscripts below.) Each illustration must include a label, a number, a caption and/or source information.

  • The illustration label and number should always appear in two places: the document main text (e.g. see fig. 1) and near the illustration itself (Fig. 1).
  • Captions provide titles or explanatory notes.
  • Source information documentation will always depend upon the medium of the source illustration. If you provide source information with all of your illustrations, you do not need to provide this information on the Works Cited page.

Figures

  • All visuals/illustrations that are not tables or musical score examples (e.g. maps, diagrams, charts, videos, podcasts, etc.) are labeled Figure or Fig.
  • Refer to the figure in-text and provide an Arabic numeral that corresponds to the figure. Do not capitalize figure or fig.
  • MLA does not specify alignment requirements for figures; thus, these images may be embedded as the reader sees fit. However, continue to follow basic MLA Style formatting (e.g. one-inch margins).
  • Below the figure, provide a label name and its corresponding arabic numeral (no bold or italics), followed by a period (e.g. Fig. 1.). Here, Figure and Fig. are capitalized.
  • Beginning with the same line as the label and number, provide a title and/or caption as well as relevant source information in note form (see instructions and examples above). If you provide source information with your illustrations, you do not need to provide this information on the Works Cited page.

Figures Example

In-text reference:

Some readers found Harry’s final battle with Voldemort a disappointment, and recently, the podcast, MuggleCast debated the subject (see fig. 2).

Figure caption (below an embedded podcast file for a document to be viewed electronically):

Fig. 2. Harry Potter and Voldemort final battle debate from Andrew Sims et al.; “Show 166”; MuggleCast; MuggleNet.com, 19 Dec. 2008, www.mugglenet.com/2015/11/the-snape-debate-rowling-speaks-out.

Examples

  • The descriptor Example only refers to musical illustrations (e.g. portions of a musical score). Example is often abbreviated Ex.
  • Refer to the example in-text and provide an Arabic numeral that corresponds to the example. Do not capitalize example or ex.
  • Supply the illustration, making sure to maintain basic MLA Style formatting (e.g. one-inch margins).
  • Below the example, provide the label (capitalized Example or Ex.) and number and a caption or title. The caption or title will often take the form of source information along with an explanation, for example, of what part of the score is being illustrated. If you provide source information with your illustrations, you do not need to provide this information on the Works Cited page.

Print Source Caption Example

Fig. 4. Frank Duveneck, Portrait of Maggie Wilson, Oil on board, 38.10 x 30.48 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; Unsuspected Genius: the Art and Life of Frank Duveneck, by Robert Neuhaus  (San Francisco: Bedford Press, 1987) 227.

 

Electronic Source Caption Example

Fig. 9. Amasis Painter, Lekythos; Women Weaving, 17.15 cm height, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Accessed Jan. 12, 2007 from the Reed College CONTENTdm database <http://cdm.reed.edu/u?/vrcwork,38536>.

Other Source Caption Example

Fig. 13. Columbia River at Dawn. Personal photograph by author. 13 March 2008.

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MLA Citations

MLA: An Original Work of Visual Art

To cite an original work of visual art (a lithograph, painting, photograph, sculpture, etc.) in an institution such as a museum or in a private collection, follow this format:

Artist’s last name, first name. Title of artwork. Year. Medium. Name of institution/private collection housing artwork, city where institution/private collection is located.

Examples:

Evans, Walker. Penny Picture Display. 1936. Photograph. Museum of Mod. Art, New York. Heckman, Albert. Windblown Trees. N.d. Lithograph on paper. Private collection.

Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn. Aristotle with a Bust of Homer. 1653. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Seurat, Georges. Man Leaning on a Fence. 1880-81? Graphite on paper. Collection of André Bromberg, n.p.

 

For more information, see section 5.7.6, “A Work of Visual Art,” in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.

An Image/Reproduction of a Work of Visual Art from the Web

To cite an image/reproduction of a work of visual art from the Web, follow this format:

Artist’s last name, first name. Title of artwork. Year. Name of institution/private collection housing artwork. Title of database or website. Publisher/sponsor of database or website. Medium consulted. Date of access.

Note about publisher/sponsor: When known, include if it is not related to the housing institution/collection; is a parent entity of

the database or website; or offers the source in additional formats.

Examples:

Braun, Adolphe. Flower Study, Rose of Sharon. c. 1854. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Grove Art Online. Oxford

University Press. Web. 2 June 2011.

Currin, John. Blond Angel. 2001. Indianapolis Museum of Art. IMA: It’s My Art. Web. 9 May 2007.

Eggleston, William. Memphis. c. 1969. Museum of Mod. Art.

Academy of Art University Collection, LUNA. Academy of Art University. Web. 27 Apr. 2011.

Lange, Dorothea. The Migrant Mother. 1936. Prints and Photographs Div., Lib. of Cong. Dorothea Lange:

Photographer of the People. Web. 9 May 2007.

 

For more information, see section 5.6.2.d, “A Work on the Web Cited with Publication Data for Another Medium Besides Print,” in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.

About URLs

URLs are now an optional component of a citation, but it is still recommended to include this information if the reader will not be able to locate a resource without it, or it is part of an instructor’s requirements.

When providing a URL, enclose the complete address in angle brackets following the date of access, period, and a space. End the entire entry with a period after the closing angle bracket:

Artist’s last name, first name. Title of artwork. Year. Name of institution/private collection housing artwork. Title of database or website. Publisher/sponsor of database or website. Medium consulted. Date of access. <URL>.

Examples:

Cloix, Emmanuel. BROUSSAI 2 visu. 2007. Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 1 June 2011. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BROUSSAI_2_visu.jpg>.

Koul, Anirudh. Golden Gate Bridge – Photographing World’s Most Photographed Place. 2008. Flickr. Yahoo! Inc. Web. 1 June 2011. <http://www.flickr.com/photos/anirudhkoul/2535955996/>.

Moore, Albert. A Garden. 1869. Tate Britain. Art Project. Google. Web. 1 June 2011. <http://www.googleartproject.com/museums/tate/a-garden-152>.

 

For more information, see section 5.6.1, “Citing Web Publications: Introduction,” in the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.

An Image/Reproduction of a Work of Visual Art from a Print Source

To cite an image/reproduction of a work of visual art from a print source, follow this format:

Artist’s last name, first name. Title of artwork. Year. Name of institution/private collection housing artwork. Title of print source. Author/editor’s first name last name. Publication city: Publisher, year. Page/plate number. Medium of reproduction.

Examples:

Eakins, Thomas. Spinning. 1881. Private collection. Thomas Eakins. Ed. Darrel Sewell. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art in assn. with Yale UP, 2001. Plate 91. Print.

Kahlo, Frida. The Two Fridas. 1939. Museo de Art Moderno, Mexico City. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: The Western Perspective. 12th ed. Ed. Fred S. Kleiner, Christin J. Mamiya. Vol. 2. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006. 774. Print.

Moholy-Nagy, Lászlò. Photogram. N.d. Museum of Mod. Art, New York. The Contest of Meaning: Critical Histories of Photography. Ed. Richard Bolton. Cambridge: MIT P, 1989. 94. Print.

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