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Visual Arts: Images

Vincent Van Gogh : Starry Night

Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY

New Hanover County Public Library


Tips for Citing

  • The primary purpose of citing references is to help the reader find the original sources. 


  • When writing out an entry for the works cited list using MLA format, the name listed first in the entry should be the contributor who's work is most relevant to the research being done. For example, if a person is studying plot devices in graphic novels, and they refer to a work with both a writer and an artist listed, the writer of a graphic novel should be the main focus of the entry. If the person is reporting on illustration techniques, the artist should be the focus.

From UCI Libraries, Irvine, CA 

Links to Images

Citing vs Attribution

When to Cite When to Provide Attribution
Any images you plan to use in a scholarly work (from print or web) should be cited according to required format style (APA, MLA, etc.) You may attribute an image/visual media source for presentations, papers, or other formats that do not require a specific publication style.

From UCI Libraries, Irvine, CA

Citation and Attribution Examples

Example  (MLA) image from the web Example attributed image from the web

Blake, William. The Ghost of a Flea. 1918. Tempera heightened with gold on mahogany. Tate Britain, London. Art Project. Google. Web. 15 Feb. 2011


Lastname, Firstname.Title of Work. Year. Medium. Institution housing work: Location of Institution. Website name. Website sponsor. Web. Date of retrieval.











Praying Mantis by Elizabeth Swider (2010) (CC-BY 3.0)


Try to include the following information:

  • Provide the creator of the work
  • the title
  • year(s) when it was composed/completed
  • materials involved in creating the work
  • institution that houses the work
  • date the work was retrieved
  • the website from which the work was retrieved (a hyperlink if the format allows).


From UCI Libraries, Irvine, CA

Copyright Free Images

The following sites contain royalty free images.