How to Do an In-Text Citation for Art in MLA

by Paige Johansen

The Modern Language Association citation system is used mainly in literature and the humanities, so if you are taking an art history or literature class and find yourself writing about a work of art, you will need to cite that piece of work. You can easily cite paintings, photographs and even statues in-text and on your "Works Cited" page.

Citing Art In-Text

When you're writing about a piece of art, you probably will mention the artist and title of that work. If you do, then this is sufficient for in-text citation. For example: A Greek myth is depicted in Goya's painting "Saturn Devouring His Son." If you don't mention the artist's name, then you should do so parenthetically. For example: A Greek myth is depicted in the painting "Saturn Devouring His Son" (Goya).

Works Cited Entry for Artwork

When citing a piece of famous artwork, the name of the artist comes first, followed by the title of the painting, the date of production, the medium, the museum where it is housed and the location of the museum. Goya, Francisco. Saturn Devouring His Son [italicized]. 1819–1823. Oil mural transferred to canvas. Museo del Prado, Madrid.

About the Author

Paige Johansen has been writing professionally since 2003. She holds a B.A. in psychology and English from Cornell University and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from The University of Virginia. Between degrees, she worked in the fashion industry for two years.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images