Citing artwork in MLA format

Artwork examples


Example of Visual Art, Painting or Photograph from a Book

Dali, Salvador. The Persistence of Memory. 1931, Museum of Modern Art, New York.

    Salvador Dali's Art and Writing, 1927-1942: The Metamorphoses of Narcissus, by Haim

    N. Finkelstein, Cambridge University Press, 1998, p. 212.


Example of a Physical Object You Experienced Firsthand

Dali, Salvador. The Persistence of Memory.  1931, Museum of Modern Art, New York.



Detailed Explanation

Artist: Dali, Salvador.
List the person's name, list the last name followed by the first name. End with a period.

Title & subtitle of the work of art: The Persistence of Memory.The title & subtitle are separated by a colon. Capitalize the first and last words of the title and subtitle, and all proper nouns and important words. Place article title & subtitle in Italics and end with a period. If there is final punctuation like an exclamation point or a question mark, this will replace the final period.

Date of artwork: 1931,
Give the date the artwork was done followed by a comma.

Museum where art is located: Museum of Modern Art,
List the museum followed by a comma. List private collection if that is where the artwork resides.

City of museum: New York,
List where the museum is followed by a comma.

If you experienced this artwork first hand, simply end the citation here with a period.
If you saw this artwork in a book, continue with the rest of this citation.
If you saw this artwork on a web page, look at the instructions for how to cite a web page to continue your citation.

Title & subtitle of book: Salvador Dali's Art and Writing, 1927-1942: The Metamorphoses of Narcissus,
The title and subtitle are separated by a colon. Capitalize all important words, italicize the title, and end with a comma.

Author(s) or editor(s) of book: by Haim N. Finkelstein,
List the author(s) or editor(s) of the book preceding the name with the word(s) "by" or "edited by". The first name is listed first followed by the second name and a comma.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press,
List the publisher of the book. Place a comma after the publisher's name to separate it from the year of publication.

Year of publication:  1998,
List the year of the publication of the book followed by a comma.

Page number: p. 212
Give the page number of the artwork in the book preceded by "p.". End the citation with a period.


The above information is based on a website from the College of St Scholastica and p. 49 of the  MLA Handbook 8th edition and Purdue OWL.