Art / History

How to reference artworks on your blog entry

The Pope admiring the Sistine Chapel: 'It needs a caption.'

The Pope admiring the Sistine Chapel: ‘It needs a caption.’

I use plenty images of artworks on this blog. Most of the time, I try to write captions as complete as possible and cite the source of image. Other times, I struggle in finding information on an image. And when I do struggle I would decide not to use them at all and went for other alternatives. I have to admit I get confused myself at times and questions, how much exactly information of an artwork should you gather and publish on your blog?

After wandering about on the internet, here is what I learned when it comes to citing artworks on your blog.

1. There isn’t just one way to do it. 

A blog entry, is that: a blog entry. In general you could decide how you would caption the images of your choice. If you want to treat your writing like an academic essay and go for APA, MLA or Chicago Manual of Style standard you could, but there isn’t a compulsory for it. You could also just select information you would think relevant, for instance only [Title] and [Artist Name] and leave out the size of the actual artwork or the year it was made. This is also OK. It all depends on how much you want your readers to take information out of it and how relevant it is to your own writing.

2. What to do?

First, I am in favour of fair use of images available online, so please pay attention to copyright use of an image. Some people are kind enough to let us know how to re-use the image that they produce (like today’s living artists, or photographers), it is only fair that we respect it.

Second of all, it is good to familiarise yourself with the kinds of information that usually comes together with an artwork. These information usually (but not always) include: [Title], [Artist Name], [Size], [Material & Technique (Type of Artwork)], [Year of making], [To which collection the artworks belong to], if you are lucky [to whom the artwork used to belong to] and if the image comes from a living artist, it would also be great if we could [link it to their webpage] if any.

But, remember that it is OK to just keep it simple information. It is about the artwork after all.

3. It is probably beneficial to create your own standard. 

This is something I am still working on and I do want my posts to be beneficial to others. For example, if someone like the painting I chose to display on one of my post, I want that person to have access to where I got the original image, so he or she could enjoy or know further about it – so how I could do so through my putting information together with the image? This is just one of the things to think about.

So, yes, I hope this helps to clear what to do in referencing artworks in your blog :).

Keep sharing (nice) artworks!


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