Citations are standardized means to give credit to works that are not yours.

For example, it can be a piece of art, poetry, an article, or a photographIn many cases, it may be illegal to use them even with captions and citationsFor details regarding them, you should always consult the specific source that you wish to use.

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MLA Citation

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In terms of article writing, or writing papers, academic or otherwise, a standard form of citation that is very popular is called ‘MLA’. It is a form that finds use in high school essays and even in the college curriculum. People tend to use them even when making presentations when they use someone else’s slides and information.

  • The basics of MLA citation are available at this site from Purdue University. MLA stands for Modern Language Association, which is a group that mandates a format or style of citations for a worldwide audience.
  • It gives basic in-text citation rules for the works of others in the text. It is available through the MLA Handbook.
  • For example, in-text citations for authors of academic papers can be as follows, without the double quotes: Wordsworth stated that Romantic poetry was marked by a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings (263).
  • MLA finds use in the citation of artwork like paintings as well. It follows this format: ‘Artist’s Last Name, Artist’s First Name. Title of Artwork or Description’. Year of creation, Museum, City.

How do You In-Text Cite a Painting?

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Purdue Writing Lab gives examples of using the format and style of MLA for citations of various types of work, in in-text mode. It means that this format relies on using text for citing someone’s work.

  • In brief, you start by mentioning the name of the artist and the artwork, in text. MLA style does not mandate the use of parentheses, which some other styles do use, for paintings.
  • You must provide the artist’s name, the title of the artwork (the painting) in italics, and the date of composition. For paintings, it is generally the date of completion. It is the sole right of the painter.
  • Finally, you must provide the name of the museum, the institution of the house where the artwork belongs to (e.g. The Art Institute of Chicago). Only if the location is personal and not listed.
  • For Example, FIU shows citing a painting in MLA style.

How do You Give Credit to a Painting?

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To give credit to painting, you have to give credit to the author, the artist, and the people who were involved in making the artwork complete. In most cases, it is only a single person so it is easy and straightforward. But, in some cases, it can be the work of many people that took several years to complete. In general, you should find the below information in the citation of paintings.

  • Artist.
  • Year, if possible.
  • Name or Title of the Artwork.
  • Medium, of painting like oil or acrylic over canvas or paper, etc.
  • The institution, where it is present now.

How do You Caption a Painting?

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Captioning any painting requires you to follow the style and format the institution or the source mandates. There is no single style that everyone follows strictly. Some use MLA; some use their own proprietary standards. There is APA style and there is also Chicago style that college students prefer when writing essays.


  • For captioning paintings, you should follow the source guidelines to the exact details. For example, FIU guidelines as given above.
  • Personal paintings can follow a simple structure that has all the important details like the above example.

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