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How to Do Citations in MLA Format for Pictures


The Modern Language Association's MLA style, a writing guide intended for professionals and students penning works in the humanities, provides instructions on how to cite myriad types of material. Although written works are the most common types of source materials, the seventh edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers and the third edition of the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing also provide instructions for citing pictures.

Works Cited Page

The main citations in an MLA paper are found on the Works Cited page appended to the end of the document. A citation for a picture should begin with the artist's name (last name, followed by a comma and a first name) and a period. Then comes the italicized title of the work, a period, the date the work was created and another period. The citation should end with the name of the institution where the work is displayed, a comma and the name of the city where the work is found. An example citation for a picture would read: Wendt, Miguel. The White City (italicized). 1934. Museum of Art, New York.

Parenthetical Citations

When an author utilizes research in the body of an MLA style document, he should insert a parenthetical citation. These short in-text references end sentences and refer readers to the longer, more in-depth references found on the Works Cited page. A parenthetical citation for a picture should include just the last name of the artist in parentheses at the close of the sentence where the source material is referenced. An example citation would read: The painting of the small pond was the artist's first attempt at capturing the natural world on a canvas (Mikhelson).

Pictures from the Web

If the picture being cited was originally accessed via the Internet, the citation will differ slightly. The name of the website, in italics, should come after the information for a typical picture citation. Then the word "Web" and a period should be listed and the citation should end with the date the picture was accessed online. The seventh edition of the MLA handbook doesn't require authors to list URLs in the citation.

An example reference for an online picture would read : Blair, Rose. Evil Within (italicized). 1963. Museum of Art, Chicago. Historic Photos (italicized). Web. 13 June 2006.

About the Author

First published in 2005, Kyle Whitney has covered news and sports in the Midwest, Washington, D.C., and Beijing. His articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines in Michigan and China. Whitney is currently a local government reporter at a daily paper.

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