menu

How to Add a Picture to an Annotated Bibliography


During the process of writing a research paper for a class, you may be asked to create an annotated bibliography. An annotated bibliography is similar to the list you will include on the Works Cited page of your paper, but it includes a brief description after each entry. References to pictures, such as photographs or paintings, are handled similarly to other types of media.

Citation Format

The exact format of your bibliographical entry depends on a number of factors. First, you will have to determine which style guide you are using because MLA, Chicago and APA all require different formats for bibliographical entries. Also, you will have to determine what sort of media you are referencing and where it is sourced. An entry for a digital image of an art piece retrieved from an online database will include the artist's name, the title of the work, the year it was produced, the museum or institution housing the work, the database name, the database medium and date of access. An example of an MLA entry looks like this:

Van Gogh, Vincent. Sunflowers (italics). 1888. National Gallery, London. Academy of Art University Collection, LUNA. Academy of Art University. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.

Annotating the Entry

For the annotation, provide basic information about the picture, such as the medium, year of production and its cultural significance. If you have been asked to include analysis in your annotated bibliography, explain how and why the picture is significant in relationship to the main point of your research paper. The entry should be a short paragraph of about three to five sentences, but it should be packed with important information about the resource. An annotation for the previous example might read like this:

Van Gogh, Vincent. Sunflowers (italics). 1888. National Gallery, London. Academy of Art University Collection, LUNA. Academy of Art University. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.

Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" is one of his most enduring and recognizable masterworks. The artist said sunflowers represented happiness to him, something he sorely lacked in his lifetime. This painting is one of several made of the subject, and this one, on display at London's National Gallery, is considered by art historians to be one of the best examples. The image is rendered in thick oil paint with bold brushstrokes.

About the Author

Based in Sedona, AZ, Nicole E. Dean has two decades of intensive experience as a writer, editor, educator and book coach. She is a regular contributor to "BrainWorld" magazine and created the blog Mystic@theMovies. She also taught college writing for 11 years and holds a master's degree in English literature.

Photo Credits
  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images