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Art Research Guide

A starting point for finding information on art materials and techniques. There is a separate Guide for Art History.

Finding Images

For help with ARTstor, visit the ARTstor YouTube channel for tutorials, or use their subject guides with keyword suggestions, search tips, and collection content.

Artstor Background Information

Using Artstor

Artstor Homepage

Exporting Images to PowerPoint

Citing Images

Just like with your other sources, images need to be properly cited to give credit to their creator. Items obtained from the web or scanned from a print source should be attributed to the owner of the copyrighted work (unless they are marked as royalty-free).

As a general rule, the following elements are needed in the citation:

  • Artist's Name, if known
  • Title of Image
  • Title of the image, if known (if not, use a description)
  • Institution where held, if known.
  • Title of article or book (if applicable)
  • Author of article or book (if applicable)
  • Title and Date of magazine (if applicable)
  • Database name (if applicable)
  • Date of access if online or publication if originally from print material
  • URL (if applicable)

Examples in MLA


Image from a Library Database

Titled Image

Martin, Agnes. Morning. 1965. Painting. Tate Gallery, London. Oxford Reference,

Untitled Image

Massachusetts Historical Society. Seal of the society set in a landscape with ornaments. Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, vol. 17, 1879-1880, p. iii. JSTOR,


Image from a Print Source

Titled Image

Rousseau, Henri. The Ship in the Storm. 1896. Painting. Musee de l'Orangerie, Paris. Henri Rousseau: Jungles in Paris. By Claire Fresches, et al. National Gallery of Art, 2006. p. 232.

Untitled Image

Muybridge, Eadweard. Photograph of a horse running. 1887. National Gallery, London. Eadweard Muybridge: The Father of the Motion Picture. By Gordon Hendricks. Grossman, 1975. p. 202.

Examples from


Be careful where you get your images. They are someone's intellectual property.

Watermarked Image

As a student...

You can use images from ARTstor and the VRC for the work that you turn in for school, or for your own inspiration and information.

You cannot post these images publicly online or distribute them. If you find an image that you want to use for a publication or to share outside of class, you must get the permission of the copyright holder.

To find images you can use for non-class (as well as class) purposes, use images found through the Open Access Guide.  

For more information:

Fair Use Considerations

Fair use of a copyrighted work is the reproduction of a work for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

Fair Use in the Classroom:

  1. Purpose and character of your use
  2. Nature of the copyrighted work
  3. Amount and substantiality of the portion taken
  4. Effect of the use upon the potential market

Special cases:

  • Thumbnail size reproductions online
  • Parodies (Humorous form of social commentary and literary criticism in which one work imitates another. Example below shows the painting American Gothic by Grant Wood and two parodies.) 

American Gothic and Parodies

Reading an Image

Reading an image