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FYS 199-06 Death (Wolf) Fall 2023

Citation in Visual Communications, Art and Art History

Visual Culture, Art and Art History researchers typically use Chicago or MLA citation style. This is the general area of study that W&J First Year Seminar Classes fall under. 

However, it's always best to ask your professor if they have a particular citation style that they would like you to use for your assignments.

Below is a link to the library's larger citation guide along with some quick tips for Chicago and MLA styles to get you started.

Citation Styles

Citing from Archives Galleries and Museums


Many illustrations of artworks are available online through Open Access, which means they can be used for non-commercial purposes, under "Creative Commons Zero" - for artworks in the public domain. More information can be found here.

In the US these include:


For illustrations of artwork not in the public domain, these go on a case by case basis and information about this will be found on the artists website, or the gallery representing the artist. Contact the W&J Archivist for assistance as needed.


However citation or captioning is essential in all cases.


It is always best to ask your professor what kind of captioning or citation is necessary for your assignments, but here are some guidelines from Sotheby’s Institute of Art


  • Each illustration must have a caption.
  • Do not include any discussion in captions.
  • Neither captions in any assignment, nor the list of illustrations, is included in the word count.
  • Do not include illustrations in your bibliography.


Citing from Archives Galleries and Museums

Archives, galleries and museums will have copyright lines which must be included when using illustrations or citing items in their collections. You will find these instructions on the institutions websites. 

Washington and Jefferson College Archive have the following statement on their website:

Each use of materials must be accompanied by the proper credit line “Courtesy and Copyright The Learned T. Bulman '48 Historic Archives & Museum, Washington and Jefferson College.”  


For example, illustration or information from a yearbook from the W&J college archive collection:

"Football", Pandora, Washington and Jefferson College Yearbook, 1922, p. 12. Courtesy and Copyright The Learned T. Bulman '48 Historic Archives & Museum, Washington and Jefferson College.


Illustration of artwork sourced from online

Fig. 1. Lyonel Feininger, The Bicycle Race, 1912. Oil on canvas (80.3 x 100.3 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Source:, ©2021.


Installation view of individual artwork

Fig. 2. Tracy Emin, My Bed, 1998. Mixed media (dimensions variable). Installation view, Tate Britain, London, 2015. Source: Allen, S. ‘Tracy Emin’s bed’, Instagram, 4 April 2015. Available at:

This example shows how to caption an installation view of an artwork. It also shows how to reference an image from social media.


Installation view of exhibition or display space, not focussing on a particular artwork

Fig. 3. The World Goes Pop, Tate Modern, London, 2015-16. Source: photograph by author, 6 January 2016.

This example shows how to reference your own photograph. The photograph is a general view of an exhibition that took place at Tate Modern in 2015-16.