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Image Captions - How to cite an image   Tags: cite images, citing an artwork, image captions  

A guide to creating an image caption using MLA or Art Bulletin style
Last Updated: Feb 12, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
Creating an Image Caption Print Page

MLA Style

MLA Caption Style
When citing an image, the caption should be labeled as Figure (usually abbreviated Fig.), assigned an Arabic numeral, and given a title or caption.

For photos of artwork, include the book's publication information of the text in which the image appears.

A label and title or caption ordinarily appear directly below the illustration and have the same one-inch margins as the text of the paper.

Captions should be numbered consecutively

Fig. 1. Mary Cassatt, Mother and Child, Wichita Art Museum. Illus. in Novelene Ross, Toward an American Identity: Selections from the Wichita Art Museum Collection of American Art (Wichita, Kansas: Wichita Art Museum, 1997) 107.

Source: Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed.
New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2009.

Citing unidentified images

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.").

Sources consulted:
MLA Citation Examples University of Maryland University Colleges Libraries
Miscellaneous Photographs Collection, Archives of American Art

Art Bulletin Style

Art Bulletin Caption Style
The College Art Association's AB style is a modification of the Chicago Manual of Style. Captions should be numbered consecutively. Figure numbers do not include a period. A full caption includes, whenever available and appropriate, information in the following order:

Figure number with no period
Artist (first name, last name)
Title (in italics)
Medium on support
Dimensions in inches (h. x w. x d.) followed by dimensions in centimeters (1 inch = 2.54 cm)
Name of collection
City of collection
Other collection information such as "gift of . . . ," accession number, etc.
Copyright or credit line information regarding both the photograph and the artwork (in parentheses)

1 Mary Cassatt, Mother and Child, ca 1890, Oil on canvas, 35 ½ x 25 3/8” (90.1 x 64.5 cm). Wichita Art Museum, Whichita, Kansas, Roland P. Murdock Collection, M109.53 (© Wichita Art Museum 2002)

Source: CAA Submission & Style Guidelines, Preparing an Accepted Manuscript for Publication > scroll down the page to Caption


More caption style sources

Related Guide - Citation Tools

Citation Tools - a guide to online and print citation tools + style manuals such as MLA, Chicago, Turabian and various free, online bibliographic tools


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