Citing Artistic Works

Under the Copyright Act authors hold moral rights in their work, including the right to be attributed as the author. You must acknowledge any literary work that you use.

You are not required to use a particular citation style. If the author or copyright owner asks to be acknowledged in a particular way, you should follow their request. If you are using material for teaching or academic purposes, you should use an academic citation style.

For artistic works, a simple attribution would include some or all of the following:

  • Name of the artist
  • Title (usually in italics)
  • Date
  • Medium on support
  • Dimensions in either inches or centimetres (h. x w. x d.)
  • If the artwork is part of a collection: the name and city of collection as well as any other collection information such as “gift of . . . ,” accession number, etc.
  • If the image has been sourced from another publication: the author(s), title and publication details of that publication and the page number the image appeared on.
  • If the image has been sourced from a website: the URL for the image's website and the date the website was accessed.
  • Copyright or licensing information as appropriate, for example a link to the Creative Commons licence or a statement indicating if permission has been granted by the copyright owner.
Some examples of citations for artistic works:
An original artwork:
Lawrence Alma Tadema, Silver Favourites, 1903, oil on wood, 69.1 x 42.2 cm, Manchester City Art Galleries
Camel teams taking supplies of Shell to Eucla', c.1930, photograph, 6.7 cm x 20.0 cm, photographer unknown. Shell Company Historical Collection, University of Melbourne Archives. Accessed 21/07/09
An image from a book or journal article:
Creationism vs Evolutionism: where did everything come from? in David McCandless, The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful guide to the world's most consequential trivia, New York: Collins Design, 2009, pp.20-21
Numbers of radio-collared polar bears entering confirmed dens in Amstrup, Steven C., and Gardner, Craig,"Polar Bear Maternity Denning in the Beaufort Sea" in Journal of Wildlife Management, v. 58, 1994, pp.1-10. Figure appears on p.5
An image from a website:
Stuart and Fiona Jackson, Concrete Cows, Licensed under Creative Commons.  Downloaded from on 5th January 2010

The source of the material may not include all the necessary details to complete a full citation. If so, include as many details as possible and a statement that the information is unknown. For example:

  • Eiffel Tower Picture Photographer unknown
  • 'Author, title, publication details (or source) all unknown. All reasonable attempts have been made to identify or locate this information. If you are the author or know who they are please advise us'.
  • 'Citation information unknown. Please advise us if you are the author or know who they are.'

The acknowledgement should be clear and legible. If it is not possible to include the acknowledgement with the item, use a bibliography or list of sources that clearly identifies which citation accompanies which item.