Citing data/information on a web page about a work of art

Help, I'm new to source citation. Any help/feedback you can provide to refine this citation would be most appreciated.

Joseph Smith painting (1971, by Adrian Lamb, Record ID: npg_NPG.71.43), web page; selected data, National Portrait Gallery - Smithsonian Institution, website, path: > The Portraits > Search the Collection: “NPG.71.43” ( : accessed 11 August 2023); citing: Data Source: National Portrait Gallery.

Thank You

Submitted byEEon Fri, 08/11/2023 - 16:18

Willpower1975, a painting is cited like any other creation (book, manuscript, painting, map, etc.):

Creator, "Title" (creation/publication data), specific detail

Because you are citing an online image, you need a second layer to cite the online provider. That follows the same basic pattern

Creator, Title (publication data), specific detail if any

Given that the website provider is the owner-gallery where the painting is housed, you do not have to cite the gallery again in the "Citing ..." layer. What you would cite here is the object number that your website provider cites.

To put those three layers together in the case at hand:

Gilbert Stuart, "John Adams" (c1815), oil on canvas; imaged, Smithsonian, National Portrait Gallery ( : accessed 11 August 2023); citing object number NPG.71.4.

You do not have to cite a path, because your URL takes us to the exact image. As a corollary, if you were citing something from a book, you would not cite the index, then the page and column of the index that led you to the specific page of the book. A specific URL, like a citation to a specific page, takes you right to the item being cited; no path is needed.


I appreciate your help! Another thing if I may ask. I'm confused, I always thought the title of something like a work of art is supposed to be italicized. What is your reasoning for putting it in quotation marks?

Thanks, Lane

Lane, some style guides italicize works of art; others don't. Evidence Style follows the latter.  You will notice that the National Art Gallery does the same.  On both the example you cited and the example I cited, neither italicize the title.

Also note NPG's Fact Sheet at   There, some portraits are titled and some are described. But in every case of a titled portrait, the title is placed in quotation marks, not italics.  For example:

  • “Lansdowne” portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, oil on canvas (1796)

No one will fault you for either choice.  (Except maybe a pedant who preaches that if you follow Style XYZ then you cannot deviate from it with any jot or tittle.)

I can see now how using quotation marks might be used in many more circumstances, especially if you may not be sure if you’re dealing with an official title or more of a description, than the more rigid italics option. Thanks again for your clarification and help!