Chicago Style Image Citation — Format & Examples

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Chicago-Style-Image-Citation-Definition

The Chicago Manual of Style is a style guide that has been popular in American English since its publication in 1906 by the Chicago University Press. This article provides all the information you need to cite images in the Chicago style confidently.1

Chicago Style Image Citation – In a Nutshell

Read this article to:

  • Learn the definition of Chicago style image citation
  • See examples of Chicago style image citation
  • Understand how to use Chicago style image citation

Definition: Chicago style image citation

In Chicago notes and bibliography style, Chicago style image citation suggests to cite images in notes, leaving them from the bibliography. You only need to cite an image in a bibliography if it is frequently cited, if it’s a critical element of your argument, or if your university requires it.

Chicago Style Image Citation Example

Follow the format shown in the table below to create a Chicago style image citation note for an image viewed online. Remember to cite the web page where the image is hosted, not in the Google search results where you originally found it.

Chicago bibliography
Author last name, First name. Image Title. Format description. Website Name. Month Day, Year. URL.
Full note
Author first name, Last name, Image Title, Format description, Website Name, Month Day, Year, URL.
Short note
Author last name, Shortened Image Title.

Example:

Full note
Eric, Ravilious. The Westbury Horse, Photograph, The Guardian, June 2 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/jun/02/eric-ravilious-westbury-horse-old-new.

Short note
Ravilious, Westbury Horse.

Chicago style image citation: Artwork

If you have seen a sculpture or a painting in person at a gallery or a museum, or any other location, Chicago style image citation requires you to share information about the hosting institution. For example, you may give a URL if the art gallery website has a page about the artwork.

Chicago bibliography
Author last name, First name. Artwork Title. Year. Format description. Institution Name, City. URL.
Short note
Author last name, Shortened Artwork Title.

Example:

Chicago bibliography
Kusama, Yayoi. Infinity Mirror Rooms. 1965. Installation. Tate Modern, London. https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/yayoi-kusama-infinity-mirror-rooms

Short note
Kusama, Infinity Mirror Rooms.

Chicago style image citation: Image from a book

An image you have found in a book, magazine article, or any other physical print source needs to be cited by initially providing information about the image and then citing information about the source in which it was found, such as the page number and the name of the publication.2

Use italics for the title if the image was initially created outside the context of the book or article (e.g., a photo of a sculpture) and quotation marks for the title of an image unique to the article or book (e.g., a chart). Use plain text to describe an untitled image.

Chicago bibliography
Author last name, First name. Image Title. Year. Author first name Last name, Book Title, Page number. City: Publisher, Year.
Full note
Author first name Last name, Image Title, Year, Author first name last name, Book Title (City: Publisher, Year), Page number.
Short note
Author last name, Shortened Image Title, Page number.

Example:

Chicago bibliography
Brueghel, Peter the Elder. Hunters in the Snow. 1565. Michael Andrews, The Birth of Europe, 167. London, BBC Books, 1991.

Full note
Brueghel, Peter the Elder. Hunters in the Snow. 1565. Michael Andrews, The Birth of Europe (London, BBC Books, 1991), 167.

Short note
Brueghel, Hunters in the Snow, 167.

Chicago style image citation: Author-date style

In Chicago style image citation author-date style, an in-text citation for an image includes the author’s last name and the year of the creation of the image.3

These citations should correspond to entries in your reference list. Reference list entries resemble bibliography entries, but the year comes straight after the author’s name.

Chicago style image citation author-date style: Online image

Chicago author-date format
Author last name, First name. Year. Image Title. Month Day, Year. Format description. Website Name. URL.

Example:

Chicago reference entry
Ravilious, Eric. 1939. The Westbury Horse. June 2, 2017. Photograph. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/jun/02/eric-ravilious-westbury-horse-old-new.

Chicago author-date citation
(Ravilious 1939)

Chicago style image citation author-date style: Museum artwork

Chicago author-date format
Author last name, First name. Year. Artwork Title. Format description. Institution Name, City.

Example:

Chicago reference entry
Kusama, Yayoi. 1965. Infinity Mirror Rooms. Installation. Tate Modern, London.

Chicago author-date citation
(Kusama 1965)

Chicago style image citation author-date style: Image from a book

Chicago author-date format
Author last name, First name. Year. Book Title. City: Publisher.

Example:

Chicago reference entry
Andrews, Michael. 1991. The Birth of Europe. London, BBC Books.

Chicago author-date citation
(Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Hunters in the Snow, 1565, 167)

FAQs

An image referred to in a book, journal or article in Chicago style image citation should be cited by first listing information about the image itself, then information about the source where it was found, including the page number.

If the images are yours, i.e. you drew them or took the photo, they don’t need to be cited in Chicago style image citation.

Public Domain images do not have a copyright because:

  • The copyright may have expired
  • The work never had a copyright
  • The copyright holder released the work into the public domain

Images not subjected to copyright do not need to be cited in Chicago style image citation.

Sources

1 The Chicago Manual of Style Online. “The Chicago Manual of Style Online.” Accessed January 11, 2023. https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/book/ed17/frontmatter/toc.html.

2 Dymarz, Ania. “Citing tables, figures, and images: Chicago (17th ed) citation guide.” Simon Fraser University. April 19, 2021. https://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/cite-write/citation-style-guides/chicago/chicago-citing-images.

3 Waidner-Spahr Library. “Art & Art History: Citing Images in Chicago Style.” Dickinson. January 10, 2023. https://libguides.dickinson.edu/c.php?g=56088&p=360209.