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Art Appreciation Research Guide

This guide is intended to be a starting point for students taking the Art Appreciation course by providing information on how to obtain books/e-books, peer-reviewed articles, images, and other information.

Online Collections

Ads, Photograph, and Prints

Using Images:Tips & Advice

  1. Almost any image you find online or in library databases, or scan from a book, or photograph yourself may be used under the educational fair use policy for class papers, class presentations, and even websites if they are closed sites only available to your own educational community.
  2. You should still cite every image you use for the educational purposes above, describing the original creator and the source of the image you're using.
  3. For any work you publish formally (even in a department newsletter or anything publicly accessible online), you should use only non-copyrighted images (public domain images) or those made available for the purpose with a creative commons license; or you must obtain explicit permission from the copyright holder (sometimes you have to pay the copyright holder for the right to reproduce an image).
  4. Any published / publicly available images you use in your work should be clearly cited, describing the original creator and the source of the image, and the permissions you were given to use it, if required.

Works of art and images of works of art are copyrighted: that means United States Copyright Law (a federal law) grants the creator of an original work the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute their work. However, the rights are limited in duration and subject to some exceptions, or limitations, which permit people the use of a copyrighted work without the copyright holder's (the creator's) permission, under certain conditions. 

  • Here is a link to Brown University Library's guide for images and copyright:

Copyright and Ethics of Image Use by Karen Bouchard

One often permitted use of copyrighted material is for purposes of "fair use".

The policy of "Fair Use" allows scholars, students, teachers, and others to use works that are still in copyright protection for the purpose of education and criticism. This does not mean that any use is fair as long as it is for educational purposes, but education is specifically mentioned as a favored purpose. For more info, here is a link to the MIT Libraries' guide for images and fair use:

Using Images: Copyright and Fair Use by Ellen Duranceau


Artist LastName, FirstName. Title of Work. Date of Composition. Medium of Composition. Institution Housing Work, City Where Institution Is Located. 

  • If you are citing a work that has been reproduced in the online environment, remove the medium of composition and add this string to the end of your citation:  Website Title. Medium of Publication. Date of Access.
  • If the year of composition is unknown, us N.d.
  • If the work is from a private collection, name the collection (Collection of ...) instead of the institution. Or list "Private Collection" in place of the institution and city if the collector wishes to be anonymous. 


Monet, Claude. Water Lily Pond. 1900. Art Insitute of Chicago, Chicago. Web. 4 August 2014. 

Kandinsky, Vasily. Orange. 1923. Museum of Modern Art, New York. Web. 25 July 2013.

da Vinci, Leonardo. Mona Lisa. 1503-1506. Oil on wood. Louvre, Paris. 


Artist LastName, FirstName. "Title of Work." Date Created. Editor/Author/Compiler Name. Name of Website. Name of Website Publisher. Medium of Publication. Date of Access.

  • If there is no editor/author/compiler or date of website creation, skip those sections.
  • If the year of composition is unknown, us N.d.
  • If the work is available under a username, include that in place of the artist's name.


javacolleen. "Lantern Floating." 2010. Flickr. Web. 2 December 2012.

Elson, John. "4Palmount." 2009. Wikimedia Commons. Web. 4 August 2014.


Section 5.7.6 of the seventh edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.


The sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association does not have guidelines for images, artwork, sculpture, photographs, etc.  However, here are some guidelines from the APA Style Blog:


Creator, A. (Date Posted). Caption text [Medium]. Retrieved from http://website.url

  • If no caption is provided, place a description of the image in brackets in its place.
  • If you are are citing a photo album, replace the caption text with the title of the album. Italicize the title.



Arist, A. (Year Created). Title of work [Medium]. Location of work: Institution housing work.

  • If you are viewing the piece online, leave off the location information for the piece. Instead, end your citation entry with "Retrieved from http://website.url"



Museum Collections

Art museums' online collections websites are an excellent place to find images of the artworks they own, or comparative images for other works of art you may be studying.

Here are several large, useful collections (with image numbers):


G.R. Little Library

Elizabeth City State University