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Critical Writing Program Spring 2023: Communicating Change in Mongolia: Chicago Manual of Style: Citing Images

Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style citation style provides guidelines for "Author-Date" or in text citation as well as for using footnotes or endnotes along with the bibliography. Images can be cited using captions or in a bibliography. Check with your instructor for the correct format.

For information on specific guidelines for images visit the online site, and use the table of contents to find: 

Chapter 14: Notes and Bibliography
Section: 14.235: Citing paintings, photographs, and sculpture
Chapter Contents / Special Types of References / Artwork and Illustrations

The Manual states, "Information about paintings, photographs, sculptures, or other works of art can usually be presented in the text rather than in a note or bibliography. If a note or bibliography entry is needed, list the artist, a title (in italics), and a date of creation or completion, followed by information about the medium and the location of the work. For works consulted online, add a URL."

Examples of Citing Images

Bibliographic entry (general)
Gogh, Vincent van. The Starry Night. 1889. Oil on canvas. 29 in. x 36 ¼ in. Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Footnote/endnote (general)
18 Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night, 1889, oil on canvas, 29 in. x 36 ¼ in., Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Caption (general)*note: captions can be done as figure, fig., illustration, or ill.
Fig. 1: Vincent Van Gogh, The Starry Night, 1889, oil on canvas, 29 in. x 36 ¼ in., Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Bibliographic entry, online (websites or databases)
Duveneck, Frank.Whistling Boy, 1872. Oil on canvas, 28 in. x 21 ½ in.
Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati. <>, accessed 12 Aug. 2007.

Footnote/endnote, online (websites or databases)
4 Henri Matisse, The Woman with the Hat, 1905, oil on canvas, 81.3 cm x 60.3 cm, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco.

Caption, online (websites or databases)
Ill. 1: Frank Duveneck, Whistling Boy, 1872, oil on canvas, 28 in. x 21 ½ in. Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati,<>

Credit lines
Images with copyright restrictions:
Reproduced with permission from Jan Newstrom Thompson, Duveneck: Last Paintings Found (Santa Clara, CA: Triton Museum of Art, 1987), 55, © 1987 by Triton Museum of Art.

Images without copyright restrictions:
Man and boy fishing in Ohio River, September 14, 1929. Courtesy of Rosemary Bart

Photograph courtesy of Cincinnati Art Museum

Unknown Artist, Title, or Date

When all or part of an image source is unknown or unknowable, use these points to guide your MLA image caption:

Unknown Artist, Author or Creator
List that source by title in your works cited list. The title should be followed by the name of the source in the citation, and the remainder of the citation composed as appropriate for the source type. Alphabetize reference list entries beginning with a title using the primary word of the title (excluding a, an, or the).

An Image without a Title
If an image is not titled, create a brief, descriptive title for it. Do not italicize this title or place it in quotes, and capitalize only the first word and any proper nouns.

Undated Sources
Use "n.d." (for "no date") in the appropriate place in your citation. When this is used after a period in a citation, capitalize the "n" ("N.d.").

For more information ...

Boxes on this page were copied from the "Cite Images" page on the Penn Libraries guide for Finding images. Please visit the full page for more information on working with images. 

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