Chicago Style Bibliographic Entries for Images and Figure Captions

Chicago Style Bibliographic Entries for Images and Figure Captions

Chicago Style is often used in the humanities and is the only citation style that requires the inclusion of a work’s dimensions (if known). For more information please consult 14.235 of The Chicago Manual of Style online and/or refer to Carleton's guide on using Chicago Style.

Basic Elements of a Chicago Style Image Citation:

1 Creators first and last name, Title of Work, date, medium, dimensions, location, or collection (publication details in brackets for footnotes), date accessed and URL.

  • Images do not usually appear in the bibliography, only the notes.
  • If there is no creator or organization information then begin the citation with the title. If there is no title provided then create a descriptive title and place it within square brackets. If there is no date available use the acronym "n.d."
  • If you are citing a work in its original context you should include the medium (e.g. oil on canvas).

Chicago Style Examples

These examples are meant to provide guidelines. If the image you want to cite lacks the elements required for a full citation, first check to see if you can find the same image from another informative source. If no alternative is available, then include as much information as you can in your citation.

Footnote/Endnote Examples

  • Artwork in a gallery or museum seen in-person​

1 Jessie Oonark, Baker Lake, Hunting with Bow and Spear, 1975, stencil print on paper, 55.2 x 75.4 cm., Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa.

  • Image from a book or article

2 Alevei Savrasov, The Rooks Have Arrived, 1871, in Dmitri V. Sarabianov, Russian Art: From Neoclassicism to the Avant-Garde 1800-1917: Painting – Sculpture - Architecture (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers, 1990), 169, plate 31.

  • Image from a museum or gallery website

3 Robert C. Todd, The Ice Cone, Montmorency Falls, ca. 1850, oil on canvas, 34.3 x 45.9 cm., National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, accessed March 8, 2016, https://www.gallery.ca/en/see/collections/artwork.php?mkey=4246.

  • Image from a specialized database or online image library

4 Charles Fraser Comfort. Medicinae Canadiensis Tabula, 1967, colour print, 90 x 46 cm, The Osler Library Prints Collection, McGill University, Montreal, accessed January 9, 2017, http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/oslerprints/fullrecord.php.

  • Image from an image sharing site like Wikimedia Commons or Flickr

5 Bernard Gagnon, Palmyra – Monumental Arch, April 7, 2010, Wikimedia Commons accessed January 27, 2017 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Palmyra_-_Monumental_Arch.jpg.

Bibliography Examples

The bibliography is meant to provide an overview of the resources you referenced in your work. Once you have provided detailed citations in your notes, you only need to cite the basic publication details of the source in the bibliography. For example, if you have referenced an image from an exhibition catalogue, website, or article, simply list the exhibition catalogue, website, or article itself, not the full image citation.

  • Artwork in a gallery or museum seen in-person​

Oonark, Jessie. Baker Lake, Hunting with Bow and Spear. 1975. Stencil print on paper. 55.2 x 75.4 cm. Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa.

  • Image from a book or article

Sarabianov, Dmitri V.  Russian Art: From Neoclassicism to the Avant-Garde 1800-1917: Painting – Sculpture – Architecture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers, 1990.

  • Image from a museum or gallery website

National Gallery of Canada. Accessed March 8, 2016. http://www.gallery.ca/en/.

  • Image from a specialized database or online image library

The Osler Library Prints Collection, McGill University. Accessed January 9, 2017. http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/oslerprints/index.php.

  • Image from an image sharing site like Wikimedia Commons or Flickr

Wikimedia Commons. Accessed January 27, 2017. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page.

Chicago Style Figure Captions

When including images in your work, label them as fig. 1, fig. 2, unless they are tables (which are labelled table 1, table 2).  Ensure that your figures are placed as close as possible to their reference in the text. If you are including a descriptive caption (it can be either an incomplete or complete sentence) add a short citation (or credit line) at the end. When reproducing an image created by someone else in your work always include the copyright status or creative commons license details in the caption as required by the source. Please see below for an example:

The bicycle’s growing popularity was reflected in the performing acts at the time that incorporated it into increasingly fantastical stunts .  For example, there was a performer active around the turn of the century who hailed himself as “the only bike-chute aeronaut”1 (see fig. 1).

Poster for Chas. H. Kabrich, the only bike-chute aeronaut
Fig. 1. Poster for performer Chas. H. Kabrich billed as the only "Bike-Chute Aeronaut". Created by Donaldson Litho. Co. [c1896]. From Library of Congress Prints and Drawings Online Catalog. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2014635895/.

Footnote:

1 Donaldson Litho. Co. “Chas. H. Kabrich, the only bike-chute aeronaut novel and thrilling, bicycle parachute act in mid-air,” c. 1896, Library of Congress Prints and Drawings Online Catalog, accessed February 22, 2017, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2014635895/.

Reference List:

Library of Congress Prints and Drawings Online Catalogue. Accessed February 22, 2017, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/.

Additional Resources:

 

Content last reviewed: February 3, 2021