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Student Engagement Librarian

MLA Art Citations

An item that you see in person will have this information in the citation: 

  • Artist's name (last, first)
  • Title of the artwork in italics
  • Date of creation
  • Name of the institution that houses the artwork followed by the location of the institution - if the institutions location is not in its name.

Illustrations appear directly embedded in the document, except in the case of manuscripts that are being prepared for publication.  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.

Set against a dark green brocade curtain, two well dressed men in fancy clothing from the medieval period stand in front of a table covered in objects of science. In the front of the men, a skull is painted at an angle so that when the painting is viewed at an angle, the skull is visible.


Format: Fig. #. Artist First name Last name, Title of work, year, medium, museum or institution holding work, city.

Example: Fig. 1. Hans Holbein, The Ambassadors, 1533, oil on oak, The National Gallery, London. 

  • 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.


Painted in a soft impressionist style, the painting is of a back room of a cafe with a pool table, cafe chairs and tables, glowing oil lamps, a clock on the wall, and a man standing next to the pool stable.

Print Source:

  • Format: Artist last name, first name. Title of work. Year, location of work, city. Book from which the artwork is printed, edition, by full name of author or edited by full name, year of publication, page number. 
  • Example: Van Gogh, Vincent. Night Café. 1889, Yale University Gallery, New Haven. Gardener's Art Through the Ages v. II, 13 ed., by Fred S. Kleiner, Wardsworth, 1994, p. 666.

Locate as much information as possible for digital images, found on the Internet or in a museum digital collection. If the digital image does not have a title, include a description of the image. 

  • The name of the creator of the digital image
  • The title of the digital image (if a date is in parentheses as part of the title, include that as well).
  • The title of the website that the image was found on
  • The date the image was created or published
  • The location of the image, such as a URL

A photograph of the Black performer Eartha Kitt sits at an angle on an ornate set of stairs, looking to the left off camera. She is wearing a black strapless dress with white flowers as accents, and her face has a serious expression.

Website Source:

  • Format: Creator’s Last name, First name. “Title of the digital image.”  Publication Date, Title of website, URL. 
  • ExampleLucas-Monroe, Lucas-Pritchard. “Eartha Kitt at a cast party for "Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1952"." 1952, Museum of the City of New York Digital Collections,

Photograph you took / personal photo (both formats are correct - use one):

  • Format option 1: Photographer. Title of photograph or description of photograph (not italicized). Date photo taken. File extension of the photo (e.g. JPEG file, GIF file, PNG file).  
  • Example option 1: Jane Smith. The veiled stars above. May 12th, 2021. JPG. 


  • Format option 2: Description of photo, Place. Date photo taken. Personal photograph by author.
  • Example option 2: Photograph of the night sky with outline of the forest, Sequoia National Park. May 12th, 2021. Personal photograph by author.