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MLA Citations 9th Edition

How to cite sources using MLA 9 [Ninth edition, 2021].

Images General Formatting Tips

Image sources include:

  • Original artworks viewed in person, such as paintings or photographs.
  • Photographs of original artworks contained in books, eBooks, databases, websites, etc.
  • Other images viewed in person or contained in books, eBooks, databases, websites, etc.

Citations of these resources will contain as much of the following information as can be collected:

  1. artist's name (if known)
  2. title of the artwork 
  3. date(s) of composition
  4. name of the institution that houses the artwork
  5. location of the institution. 

The MLA template elements for images commonly includes: 

  1. Author - The artist etc. who created the source.
  2. Title of Source -  Title of a painting, photograph, and so on.
  3. Title of Container -  If applicable, title of the larger work which the source is part of.
  4. Contributor - Key contributors, if any, are listed here. Others are optional.
  5. Publisher - Entity that made the work available. For example, the museum that owns a painting.
  6. Publication Date - The date given with the source. How specific this is and how it is structured is determined by the publisher.

Images offered online, whether via a website or library databases, are listed using the same information but with the addition of information for the online container:

  1. Container Publisher - Name of  database or website.
  2. Container Location - DOI, permalink, or URL for the source, in this order of preference. DOI addresses always begin with For permalinks and URLs remove http:// or https://. 
  3. Container Supplemental Elements - Date of access in the format: day, month abbreviated to three letters, year,  preceded by the word "Accessed." This is used only when an online source has no publication date, or if the source may be changed or removed. If you are not sure whether to add this element, ask a librarian for help.


Original images viewed in-person

Hopper, Edward. Summertime. 1943, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington.

Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de.  A Montrouge--Rosa La Rouge. 1886-1887, The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia.

Photographic reproductions in printed books

  • Treat the book as the second container. 

For example

Capa, Cornell. Savoy Ballroom, Harlem.  1939, Magnum Photos.  Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890's to the Present,  by Deborah Willis, W.W. Norton, 2009, p. 139.

Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV. 1800, Museo del Prado, Madrid. Gardener's Art Through the Ages, by Richard G. Tansey and Fred S. Kleiner, 10th ed., Harcourt Brace, p. 939.

Images on websites

Bixler, Michael. Photograph of the Royal Theater. "After 47 Years of Vacancy and Neglect, the Wrecking Ball Has Come for the Royal Theater," by Bixler, 24, Feb. 2017. Hidden City Philadelphia,

Digital images in databases

Peale, Rembrandt. "Michael Angelo and Emma Clara Peale." Circa 1826, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. JSTOR,

Images found using Google Images

  • Do not list Google Images as the publisher.
  • The website hosting the picture will be the publisher.