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FYSB 1422: Art, AIDS, Activism

This guide was made by Arts Librarian Meredith Wisner and Curator of the Barnard Zine Library Jenna Freedman to support Alice Reagan's First Year Seminar on Art, AIDS, Activism in Fall 2021 at Barnard College

Citing and Captioning in Art History

Citation Basics

Most professors of art history require that you use of the Chicago citation style to create bibliographies and footnotes. There is also a variant of Chicago known as the Turabian citation style that is used as well. Because citations direct your reader back to the work of scholarship you are using in your research, they will differ slightly depending on the type of research material you are working with. For example, an article in a book will include information about the publisher of the book, while an article in a journal will include the name of the journal and its volume and issue number. It is best to include as much information about the resources you are working with as possible so anyone who wishes to look at those resources will be able to find them.

Online Citation Style Guides

Making Image Captions

Image captions should include both the location of the work itself (if relevant), as well as the location of where you found the image. Below is an example of a mass produced image made available through a digital collection and how you would cite it depending on where you found the image.


Elements of a Caption


Title: Silence = Death

Artist: ACT UP

Date: 1987

Medium: Color Lithograph

Location of work: Widely available

Where image was found: Wikimedia Commons
Caption (artwork viewed in person):

Fig. 1. ACT UP, Silence = Death, 1987. Color lithograph. 

Caption (online): 

Fig. 1. ACT UP, Silence = Death, 1987. Color lithograph. Wikimedia Commons.

Caption (in print):

Fig. 1. ACT UP, Silence = Death, 1987. Color lithograph. AIDS Demo Graphics. By Douglas Crimp and Adam Rolstan. Seattle: Bay Press, 1990: 30.

Writing About Art

Books about Writing in the Catalog

Online Resources for Writing About Art