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Hunter Library
Research Guides
Western Carolina University

Art 104: Intro to Visual Arts

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Citations in MLA format

Basic citation for a work of art:

Artist’s Last, Artist's First. Title of Work. Year created. Housing institution or collection.

Rodin, Auguste. The Thinker. cast 1916. Cleveland Museum of Art.


Citation for a work of art from a print source or the web:

Artist’s Last, Artist's First. Title of Work. Year created. Housing institution or collection. Title of print source. By [author’s name]. City of Publisher, Page number.

Rodin, Auguste. The Thinker. cast 1916. Cleveland Museum of Art. Rodin: the Shape of Genius. By Ruth Butler. Yale University Press, p.4.


For an item found on the web instead of a book title you have the name of the website and the date at the end is the date you accessed the item.

Artist’s Last, Artist's First. Title of Work. Year created. Housing institution or collection. Title of web source. URL for source.

Rodin, Auguste. The Thinker. cast 1916. Cleveland Museum of Art. ArtStor. https://library-artstor-org.proxy195.nclive.org/#/asset/ALIEBERMANIG_10312254592

FYI: MLA citations are double-spaced and indented after the first line.

Here's an example of a painting found on the Museum of Fine Arts' site in MLA style:

Hopper, Edward. House of the Fog Horn, No.2. 1927. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Museum of Fine Arts. https://www.mfa.org/collections/object/house-of-the-fog-horn-no-2-36528

Creative Commons

Creative Commons - A Quick Intro

By Aditya Dipanker of Folography. -- Click on image to see larger version.

There are many sites around the web that offer content on Creative Commons (CC) licenses. There are even a few sites that offer nothing but CC-0 licenses, which mean that you don't have to cite them if you don't want to. The "Find Images" tab offers a number of sources but it is by no means a complete list.

There are also sites (like NYPL digital collections) that offer a number of images with no known copyright restrictions. This determination is often, but not always, made using the age of the item. If you are looking for images to use in works that you posting online and/or selling you need to consider where the item is coming from.

If you have questions or want help locating images for a project feel free to contact the art librarian. Contact info is located on the home page of this guide.

An ideal attribution for a Creative Commons item includes:

  • Title: In quotation marks and linked to the item on its original page
  • Author: For online material it will typically be a username and not a real name. Ideally it is linked to the author's page on the site you retrieved the image.
  • License: The license assigned by the author to the item (e.g. CC BY 2.0) and linked to the appropriate license page provided by CC.

See the 'Citation Example' tab for examples of images with attributions.

For instructions and best practices creating attributions for items you've modified, items with multiple sources, etc. click on the link below to find more information:

Example of CC attribution for an item found on Flickr:

"Mona Lisa" by waltjabsco is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Example of CC attribution for an item found on Pixabay. You are not required to attribute works with a CC0 license but it is good practice to give credit to the creator of an image:

"Bull landscape nature mammal" by RonBerg is licensed under CC-0