Skip to main content
Bates College Research Guides Library Home

Chicago Citation Style

Citing/Documenting Images

Core Elements of a Citation for Published Images or Illustrations:

(CMS16 14.165)

In CMS little guidance is given for citing images. Published images and illustrations can either be treated like a chapter of a book, or as a numbered section of a page.  Depending on the subject, you may cite the artistic subject of a photograph or treat the photo as the cited artwork. In a presentation or paper that reproduces an image, you may need to credit both.  The following guidelines are meant to help with the most important purpose of citation: providing enough information that your readers can find exactly the same image that you are referencing in your research.  When citing, use the titles supplied in your source, and the abbreviation 'fig.' or the spelled out words: 'table,' 'map,' 'plate,' etc.

Full Note:

Note Number. Artist or Creator, "Image Title," medium, date of artwork, museum item number if available, (name of institution housing the original, city of that institution if not already stated) in Name of Book by Book Author, (Place Published: Publisher, Year), page, figure number.

Full Note Example (image in book):

1.   Awa Tsireh (Alfonso Roybal), "Untitled (Bighorn Sheep and Rainbow)," watercolor on paper, ca.1928-30, (School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe, NM), in A Strange Mixture: the Art and Politics of Painting Pueblo Indians by Sascha T. Scott, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2015), 170, fig. 5.11.

Full Note Example (image in a journal article):

11.   Michelangelo Buonarroti, Tomb of Julius II, sculpture, completed 1545, (San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome), reproduced in Maria Ruvoldt, "Michelangelo's Slaves and the Gift of Liberty," Renaissance Quarterly 65 (Winter 2012): 1032, fig. 3. (Photo: Scala/Art Resource)

Short Note -- must be preceded by a full citation:

Note NumberArtist Name (Last Name only if cited previously), "Artwork Title," shortened source information, page(s), plate number.

Short Note Example (book):

15. Georgia O'Keeffe, "Grey Blue & Black--Pink Circle," oil on canvas, 1929, (Dallas Museum of Art), in Scott, Strange Mixture, 182, fig. 6.2.

Short Note Example (journal article):

15. Michelangelo, Rebellious Slave, sculpture, 1513-15, (Louvre, Paris), in Ruvoldt, "Michelangelo's Slaves," 1030, fig. 1. (Photo:  Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Art Resource)

Bibliography Citations

Cite the source, not the individual images:

Author (Last, First). Book Title. Place published: Publisher, date.

Bibliography Citation Examples:

Ruvoldt, Maria. "Michelangelo's Slaves and the Gift of Liberty." Renaissance Quarterly 65 (Winter 2012): 1029-1059.

Scott, Sascha T. A Strange Mixture: The Art and Politics of Painting Pueblo Indians. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2015.

Citing Images or Illustrations on a Website:

When at all possible cite the original source of an image.  DO NOT CITE GOOGLE IMAGES AS THE SOURCE OF AN IMAGE.  Depending on the subject, you may cite the artistic subject of a photograph or treat the photo as the cited artwork. In a presentation or paper that reproduces an image, you may need to credit both. The following guidelines are meant to help with the most important purpose of citation: providing enough information that your readers can find exactly the same image that you are referencing in your research. When citing, use the titles supplied in your source.

Full Note (Not all of the information below will be available for every image. Provide what you can.)

Note Number. Artist or Creator, "Image Title," medium, date of artwork, museum item number if available, (name of institution housing the original, city of that institution if not already stated), Website Name, last modified date (if none, then accessed date), >Website Sponsor, DOI (preferred) or URL

Full Note Example (image in an online collection):

1. Quaker Oats Company, "Pure Quaker Oats," cylindrical cardboard box, ca.1930-40, Object ID 83.4.113, (The Stephen H. Hart Library & Research Center, Denver), History Colorado Online Collection, accessed November 24, 2015, History Colorado,
http://5008.sydneyplus.com/HistoryColorado_ArgusNet_Final/ViewRecord.aspx?template=Object&record=404c73ae-74ef-4ace-b3df-7512fdd4ba1b

Full Note Example (Image in a Wikipedia article):

The following is a hybrid of an online collection citation and an encyclopedia article.  Note that the image title is italicized in this case, and the title of the Wikipedia entry is given in quotes.

11.   Michelangelo Buonarroti, Tomb of Julius II with Michelangelo's statues of Rachel and Leah on the left and right of his Moses, sculpture, completed 1545, (San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome), Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, s.v."Tomb of Pope Julius II," last modified August 9, 2015.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_Pope_Julius_II#/media/File:Rome-Basilique_San_Pietro_in_Vincoli-Moise_MichelAnge.jpg. (Photo: Jean-Christophe Benoist)

Short Note -- for use after the first full citation:

Note Number. Artist Name (Last Name only if cited previously), "Artwork Title," shortened source information, page(s), plate number.

Short Note Example (online collection):

15. Quaker Oats, "Pure Quaker Oats," Object ID 83.4.113, History Colorado Online Collection./p>

Short Note Example (Wikipedia article):

15. Michelangelo, Tomb of Julius II with... Rachel and Leah on the left and right, "The Tomb of Julius II," Wikipedia.

Bibliography Citation

You may simply cite the source, or if you use only one thing from a collection, you may cite the individual image. In either case try to provide enough detail so that others can locate the object.

Bibliography Citation Examples:

History Colorado Online Collection. The Stephen H. Hart Library & Research Center, Denver.

"Tomb of Pope Julius II." Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia. Last modified August 9, 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_Pope_Julius_II

OR

Michelangelo Buonarroti. Tomb of Julius II with Michelangelo's statues of Rachel and Leah on the left and right of his Moses, sculpture, completed 1545. (San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome). From the article "The Tomb of Julius II." Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_Pope_Julius_II#/media/File:Rome-Basilique_San_Pietro_in_Vincoli-Moise_MichelAnge.jpg. (Photo: Jean-Christophe Benoist)

Quaker Oats Company. "Pure Quaker Oats." Object ID 83.4.113. History Colorado Online Collection. The Stephen H. Hart Library & Research Center, Denver. http://5008.sydneyplus.com/HistoryColorado_ArgusNet_Final/ViewRecord.aspx?template=Object&record=404c73ae-74ef-4ace-b3df-7512fdd4ba1b

Images or Illustrations in ARTstor:

In CMS little guidance is given for citing images (CMS 16th 14.165). The following guidelines are meant to help with the most important purpose of citation: providing enough information that your readers can find exactly the same image that you are referencing in your research.  Because so many institutional archives are making their online collections available through ARTstor, your citation may be a hybrid of an online image and an archival resource. 

Core Elements of an Image Citation:

  • Full Note (Not all of the information below will be available for every image. Provide what you can.):

Note Number. Artist or Creator, Image Title, medium, date of artwork, identifying number if available, (name of institution housing the original, city of that institution if not already stated), Collection Name, ARTstor, URL

  • Full Note Example (image in ARTstor):

1.   "Helene [sic] Filene (Ladd) standing on a sidewalk with a camera in her hands," gelatin silver print, ca. 1914-1916, Photograph Number MC448-119-14, Catherine Filene Shouse Papers, 1878-1998, (Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University), The Schlesinger History of Women in America CollectionARTstor,  http://library.artstor.org/library/secure/ViewImages?id=4iFLcDwwJloxLyk7ez54RA%3D%3D

  • Short Note -- for use after the first full citation:

Note NumberArtist Name (Last Name only if cited previously), "Artwork Title," shortened source information, page(s), plate number.

  • Short Note Example (ARTstor):

15. Marshall, James A., "Earhart climbing out of the cockpit of her plane," gelatin silver print, July 1937, Photograph Number PC-29-1-1Schlesinger History of Women in America Collection, ARTstor.

  • Short Note Example (Wikipedia article):

15. MichelangeloTomb of Julius II with... Rachel and Leah on the left and right, "The Tomb of Julius II," Wikipedia.

  • Bibliography Citation

You may simply cite the source, or if you use only one thing from a collection, you may cite the individual image.  In either case try to provide enough detail so that others can locate the object: 

  • Bibliography Citation Examples:

The Schlesinger History of Women in America Collection. ARTstor

Shouse, Catherine Filene. Papers, 1878-1998, Collection Number MC448. The Schelsinger History of Women in America Collection.  ARTstor.

OR

 "Helene [sic] Filene (Ladd) standing on a sidewalk with a camera in her hands," gelatin silver print, ca. 1914-1916. Catherine Filene Shouse Papers, 1878-1998Photograph Number MC448-119-14. The Schlesinger History of Women in America Collection, ARTstor,  http://library.artstor.org/library/secure/ViewImages?id=4iFLcDwwJloxLyk7ez54RA%3D%3D

Loading ...