How Princeton Art and Archaeology majors should caption illustrations
If you refer to illustrations in your paper, you should insert a figure reference in parentheses – (Figure 1) or (Fig. 1) – directly following the naming of the object that you want the reader to consult or at the end of the sentence. It is advisable to number the figures in the order that they first appear in your text. If you come back to an earlier figure later in your paper or jump ahead to a figure that you haven’t cited yet, you may need to cue your reader by saying (see Fig. 4). Whatever you do, you need to confirm that the numbers of your textual figure references correspond with the numbers actually given to the reproductions. This should be part of your final proofreading process.
You must provide full and accurate information about each illustration in the form of a caption. A separate list of illustrations, in addition to captions, is only required in longer manuscripts like the senior thesis, and contains exactly the same information as the captions but in the form of a numbered list. The list of illustrations is single-spaced within entries and double-spaced between entries.
The caption for each illustration should contain the following elements:
- Figure number
- First and last name of creator (artist, architect, designer, if known)
- Title (in italics and in English translation unless the work is best known under a foreign title)
- Collection, portfolio, book, or manuscript ID in which a particular image originally appeared (for illustrated books, codices, prints, photographs, and other objects that are fragments or parts of a larger, coherent whole)
- Date (use ca. instead of c. for approximate dates; use n.d. if date is unknown)
- Medium (“oil on canvas”; “etching”; “granite”; but not “sculpture,” “painting”)
- Dimensions (height x width, or height x width x depth)
- Repository / name of collection and city where the work is currently located
- Image source (after the work’s location)
If you scanned the image from a published book or magazine, provide bibliographic information and a page number.
If you downloaded the image from the web, give the website url and the date accessed: “Photograph from http://www.metmuseum.org, accessed Sept. 2, 2015”
If you shot the picture yourself from the original object, then put: “Photograph by the author”
If you have questions about the captions for illustrations you can consult The Art Bulletin, The Chicago Manual of Style or Sylvan Barnet’s A Short Guide to Writing about Art. The important thing is to be consistent for all your illustrations.