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Citing Visual and Performing Arts in Chicago Author-Date Style


student research footnotes endnotes

You may use MLA style to write about art in high school but there is a good chance you’ll be using Chicago/Turabian style in college. If you are writing exclusively about an artist or art history, you will probably be asked to use the Chicago notes-biblio style. The notes-biblio style is ideal for writing about music, history and art because you add notes throughout the text. This allows your reader to obtain information about a particular artist or piece of music without disrupting the flow of the paper.

However, there are cases where citing a piece of artwork, such as a sculpture or painting may occur within the school paper you are writing in Chicago/Turabian author-date style. In this case, there are a few rules to follow.

Citing Artworks

Cite artworks such as photographs, paintings and sculptures within your paper. Since you do not include notes, in author-date style, cite them in parenthetical citations within the text. As with other sources, such as social media posts, you can include them in your reference list if the piece is critical to your research argument. If you are using a print book as your source, include that information in the reference list. And, if you found the work online, include the URL.

Using Maps, Advertisements, Graphics

Adding a variety of sources to your school paper makes it more interesting to your reader and underscores your research abilities. Adding graphic sources gives depth and draws the reader to expand their scope of understanding your underlying argument.

Cite these sources within the text only. If you provide enough information on the piece within the text, you do not need to add a parenthetical citation.

You do not need to create a corresponding entry in the reference list. Just make sure you’ve included enough information in your paper, so your reader knows who created the piece and the date.

Creating Entries for Live Performances

You may find a way to add zing to your research paper by incorporating references to plays, musical or dance performances. If you did not actually see the performance live, but viewed it online, create a reference list entry for the source. Otherwise, you may write it into your paper or include it as a parenthetical citation.

To cite the recorded version of a live performance, include the medium.

Although most artwork and performances can simply be added in your text, there are times when you need to include them in your author-date style reference list. If you find your source online or in print, include that information in your reference list. Always check with your instructor to make sure you are following his/her guidelines for formatting your reference list.

Related Articles

Citing Audio and Video in Chicago Author-Date Style

Chicago/Turabian Author-Date Citation Elements

About the author

Adrienne Mathewson

Adrienne Mathewson, Editor-in-Chief of Bibliography.com, is an Information Professional with a Master’s in Library, Information & Science from San José State University with an emphasis on information literacy and scholarly publishing. She is a certified librarian through the State of New Mexico.

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