Skip to Main Content

How To: Cite Images in the MLA Style

Schedule a Research Appointment

Email Us

Chat with a Librarian


Citation Elements for Images

  • Photographer or artist
  • Title of work
  • Original work's housing institution or repository (if applicable and if known)
  • Online repository or website of image
  • Publisher/sponsor of online repository or website (for works existing only on the web, if known)
  • Date of work
  • URL or permalink
  • Date accessed

Citing an Image (Including a Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph)

The following is borrowed from MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications), by the Purdue Online Writing Lab.

Provide the artist's name, the work of art italicized, the date of creation, the institution and city where the work is housed. Follow this initial entry with the name of the website in italics, the URL, and the date of access.

Frith, William Powell. Portrait of Charles Dickens. 1859. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England. ARTstor, Accessed 31 August 2018.

Charlet & Jacotin. Album of carte-de-visite, Charles Dickens. ca. 1860. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England. Victoria and Albert Museum, Accessed 31 August 2018.

If the Work is Cited on the Web Only

Provide the name of the artist, the title of the work, and then follow the citation format for a website. If the work is posted via a username, use that username as the author.

Photographer or artist. “Title of Work.” Name of website. Website Publisher or Sponsor, Date Work Created (if available), URL, Date of access.

Butterworth, Jon. “hospital bed on concrete pavement.” Unsplash, 16 January 2017, Accessed 31 August 2018.

Miller, Charles D. P. “Jane Austen’s House.” Flickr, 20 August 2007, Accessed 31 August 2018.

Beaman, S. G. Hume. “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Prints, British Library, Accessed 31 August 2018.

Note on the Use of URLs in MLA Style

Include a URL or web address to help readers locate your sources. Because web addresses are not static (i.e., they change often) and because documents sometimes appear in multiple places on the web (e.g., on multiple databases), MLA encourages the use of citing containers such as Youtube, JSTOR, Spotify, or Netflix in order to easily access and verify sources. However, MLA only requires the www. address, so eliminate all https:// when citing URLs.

A “permalink” is a shortened, stable version of a URL. Look for a “share” or “cite this” button to see if a source includes a permalink. If you can find a permalink, use that instead of a URL.

Selected Resources


  • Museum images and works contributed by cultural institutions worldwide.  Subscription database available through the Library.


  • Online site for image hosting and organization.  Contents populated by individual site users.  Freely available for searching.   Free accounts for image hosting and management, with upgraded accounts a paid option.

Purdue Online Writing Lab 

  • Includes research and citation resources for MLA, APA, and Chicago styles.


  • A guide to citation styles with concrete examples, organized by discipline and style manual.

Databases with Images

Further Citation Help

Your Friendly Library Staff

Profile Photo Emily Underwood
Profile of Jennifer Nace
Profile Image Mike Fordon
Profile of Brandon Moblo
Profile Image Sara Greenleaf
Profile Image Tricia McEldowney