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MLA Citation Help: Art & Images

Images from Google Images

Google Images is NOT a cite-able website! You would not cite "Google Images" any more than you would cite "Google" "Yahoo," or "Baidu." Google is a search tool to find websites.  If you find an image that you would like to use through Google Images, you must click through to the original website and cite THAT. 

General Rules for MLA Citation 8th edition

In the MLA 8th edition, a work's format ("book," "webpage," "database article," etc.) isn't the most important consideration (if you're not sure where to start in NoodleTools, check here).

Cite everything by using the MLA list of Core Elements (info common to most works) in this specific order:

  1. Author's last name, First name.
  2. "Title of Source."
  3. Title of Container,
  4. Other contributors,
  5. Version,
  6. Number,
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication date,
  9. Location. [where is it? page numbers in a book, URL if it's a website, etc.]
  10. (if necessary:) 2nd Container’s Title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location.

If you have looked hard for a piece of information but cannot find it, skip it.

There is often more than one way to correctly cite a source. If you have a question about citation, ask Ms. Biancolo or your teacher.

The following is an example of a good citation. In this example, my article only has the highlighted elements, so I skip the ones my article doesn't have:

  1. Author.
  2. "Title of Source."
  3. Title of Container,
  4. Other Contributors,
  5. Version,
  6. Number,
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication date,
  9. Location. 
  10. (if necessary:) 2nd Container’s Title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location.

Cunningham, Paige Winfield. "The Hopeful News About Moderna's Coronavirus Vaccine is Extremely Preliminary." Washington Post, 19 May 2020. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints,

Image/Reproduction of a Work of Art in a Book or Magazine

Whistler, James Abbot McNeill. Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket. 1875. Janson’s History of Art, edited by Penelope J. E. Davies, et al., 8th ed., Prentice Hall, 2009, p. 887.

Charleston Market Women. Black Women in America, edited by Darlene Clark Hine, 2nd. ed., vol. 1, Oxford UP, 2005, p. 197.

Did You See the Artwork in Person?

Whistler, James Abbott McNeill. Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1, 1871, Musée d'Orsay, Paris.

Vermeer, Johannes. Woman Writing a Letter, With Her Maid. c.1670, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.‚Äč

Want to cite the wall text?

Provide a description of the wall text as the Title of the Source. This may include the title of the artwork the wall text explains and the artist who created it. If the work was part of an exhibit, include the exhibit’s name as the Title of  Container, date of the exhibit, and the museum and city as the Location.

Wall text for Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid, by Johannes Vermeer. Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting, 17 June -17 Sept. 2017, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.

Wall text for the Lewis Chesspieces. People in Scotland, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh.


Did you see it in print?:

Advertisement for Head and Shoulders. Newsweek, 17 Mar. 2008, p. 2.

Did you see it online?:

Get the Best of The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 10 Jan. 2017, Pop-up ad.

Image/Reproduction of a Work of Art Online

Image is from a Random Website:

[For this example, I found the photographer's name hidden in tiny white type at the top of the photo. Also, the photo is not titled so I made one up]:

Kinnerød, Sindre. Polar bear. World Wildlife Fund, Accessed 24 April, 2019.

Image is in a Museum or University Archive:

Free Hospital for Women. [1875-1965]. Operating Room #2 (Left Side). Women Working, 1800-1930, Harvard University Library Open Collections Program, 1911, Accessed 8 Oct. 2013.

Image is in an Online Version of a Newspaper or Magazine Story:

Whall, James. View of the Exterior From the Front Lawn. From YMCA to NBA, Basketball Hall of Fame Reflects Rich, Complex History of the Game, NJ Advance Media, 9 Oct. 2011, Accessed 12 Nov. 2015.

Image is on a Web Forum (like Flickr):

Haukur, H. Gullfoss (Golden Falls). IcelandBeautiful Places to Visit, 18 May 2010, Accessed 8 Oct. 2013.

Image is from a Database:

Vermeer, Johannes. Allegory of Painting. c. 1666–7. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Accessed 12 Oct. 2017.

Examples from Online Sources

In this example, the date is a guess by the Library of Congress. If I were guessing on the date, I would also put the date [in brackets]:

Bock, Vera. Work Pays America! Prosperity. [1936-1941]. Work Projects Administration Poster Collection, Library of Congress, Accessed 3 Apr. 2015.

In this example, the photo has no title, just a description:

Roosevelt, Franklin D. Fireside Chat #17 on "Freedom of the Seas" at the White House, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Lib. & Museum, Hyde Park, 11 Sept. 1941, Accessed 12 Oct. 2017.

Table from a website:

American Veterinary Medical Association. "Table 1204: Household Pet Ownership: 2006." Statistical Abstract of the United States,129th ed., U.S. Census Bureau, 2010. Accessed 14 July 2010.


Pinterest is a tricky one because images come from elsewhere. If an image doesn't have any source information on the Pinterest page, your job is to do your best to find the original source. The easiest way is to do a Google image search:

1. Save the image to your desktop.
2. Go to Google Images search page.
3. Click on the camera icon in the search bar.
4. Drag & drop your image, upload it, or paste the image URL into the box (select that option on the top tab of the search bar).
5. Scroll through the results to find the original site (ignore the ones that come from Pinterest!).

If this is impossible--truly impossible--cite the Pinterest page where you found the image. You should be able to find an author/uploader, date, title, publisher (Pinterest), when you viewed it, and the URL.

Mildred H. McEvoy Library at Worcester Academy | 81 Providence Street | Worcester, MA 01604