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 refer to The Chicago Manual of Style online, 16th and 17th edition.
Please note: 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.
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 Footnote/Endnote Entry Examples:
Standard entry for a work of art:
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.
If the image you are referencing is from an article or book:
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.
If the image is from a gallery or museum 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.
If the image is 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.
If you are referencing an image from an image sharing site like Flickr or Wikimedia Commons:
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.
Chicago Style Bibliography
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.
If you are referencing an 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.
If the image you are referencing is from a book:
Sarabianov, Dmitri V. Russian Art: From Neoclassicism to the Avant-Garde 1800-1917: Painting – Sculpture – Architecture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers, 1990.
If the image is from a gallery or museum website:
National Gallery of Canada. Accessed March 8, 2016. http://www.gallery.ca/en/.
If the image is from a database or online image library:
The Osler Library Prints Collection, McGill University. Accessed January 9, 2017. http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/oslerprints/index.php.
If the image is from Flickr or Wikimedia Commons:
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.
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).
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/.
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/.
Library of Congress Prints and Drawings Online Catalogue. Accessed February 22, 2017, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/.
- Bowdoin College Library Chicago Style Citations: Art & Images
- Carleton University guide to Chicago citation style
- Carleton University Chicago Style tip sheet (pdf)
- Citing Nontraditional Sources in Chicago from Dickenson College Waidner Spahr Library
- CMOS Shop Talk: How do I cite and image?