Using Images from Wikipedia

by Sr. Susan Wolf, SND on February 21, 2017

in Picture quotations

™ Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

The search for good images, especially of religious subjects, can be challenging. My first go to place for these is Wikipedia.  What I like about this site is that there are notations on most of their images indicating the copyright status.  Remember all the content added to Wikipedia belongs to those who posted it.

For example, Wednesday, February 22 is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter the Apostle. I wanted to create a picture quote for my clients’ Facebook Pages for that day.  I searched Wikipedia for an article on “chair of St. Peter” and in that article I found an image that I wanted to use.  I clicked on it, and this page appeared (click on the image to go to the page):

Below the image, the usage permission details are provided:

This photograph was taken by Dnalor_01 and released under the license(s) stated below. You are free to use it for any purpose as long as you credit the author, the Source (Wikimedia Commons) and the license (CC-BY-SA 3.0) close to the image.

When I clicked on the More Details button, I found information on how to download the image for specific uses.

Here is the picture quote that I created at using this image and including the attribution details:

Usually the religious images that I use from Wikipedia are works of art that are in the Public Domain and do not require attribution. Again, that information will be found underneath the image.

You can also find images at Wikipedia’s partner site: Wikimedia Commons.

Have you used images from Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons in the past? Will you look there for images in the future?


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Trish Wolf February 21, 2017 at 8:30 am

Thank you so much for this article. Pictures for public use are hard to find. I recently came upon this one from the Metropolitan museum of art:
There is a box in the lower left that can be checked off so your search only returns images that are in the public domain. Some great pics here. Free.

Marika Donders February 21, 2017 at 8:33 am

I have used wikipedia/media but I also like pixabay and stocksnap ( and occasionally the creative commons section of flickr. (

Louise Alff February 21, 2017 at 8:53 am

this is great information. Thanks for sharing.

Renae B February 21, 2017 at 9:27 am


I’m glad you are addressing this issue. I want — and try — to give credit to artists but I find Wikipedia/Creative Commons guidelines a little muddy. I’m never sure if or when credit is required and what the wording should be. For example, this image: Among other stipulations, it says that the work must be attributed in the manner specified by the author or licensor. As far as I can tell, the author has not specified how the work must be credited. Agree? What is a person supposed to do in this case?

Thank you!

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND February 21, 2017 at 9:56 am

I looked at your example. If you click on the word Download at the top of the Page, a box appears with two Urls and the Attribution Statement. Just copy and use the attribution statement and you will be fine.

Sr. Susan Wolf, SND February 21, 2017 at 9:59 am

Thanks for this resource. Also all National Gallery of Art pieces at can be downloaded and used for free.

Renae B February 21, 2017 at 10:04 am

Oh my goodness, Sister, thank you for pointing out the feature of the “Download” option.

Caroline Cerveny February 21, 2017 at 10:27 am

What a wonderful conversation here! Wonderful suggestions! Thank you!

Julia Torres February 21, 2017 at 11:17 am

Thank you for the information, Sister.

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