The <picture> serves as a container for zero or more <source> elements and one <img> element to provide versions of an image for different display device scenarios. The browser will consider each of the child <source> elements and select one corresponding to the best match found; if no matches are found among the <source> elements, the file specified by the <img> element's src attribute is selected. The selected image is then presented in the space occupied by the <img> element.

To select the optimal image, the user agent examines each source's srcset, media, and type attributes to select a compatible image that best matches the current layout of the page, the characteristics of the display device, and so forth.

Common use cases for this are to provide a HiDPI (Retina) version of an image when using a high-DPI display, and to offer fallback image formats when a modern format is not supported by an older browser.

Content categories Flow content, phrasing content, embedded content
Permitted content Zero or more <source> elements, followed by one <img> element, optionally intermixed with script-supporting elements.
Tag omission None, both the starting and ending tag are mandatory.
Permitted parents Any element that allows embedded content.
Permitted ARIA roles None
DOM interface HTMLPictureElement


This element includes only global attributes.


These examples demonstrate the effect different attributes of the <source> attribute have on the selection of the image to display when used inside a <picture>.

The media attribute

The media attribute lets you specify a media query that the user agent will evaluate to select a <source> element. If the media query evaluates to false, the <source> element is skipped.

 <source srcset="mdn-logo-wide.png" media="(min-width: 600px)">
 <img src="mdn-logo-narrow.png" alt="MDN">

The type attribute

The type attribute lets you specify a MIME type for the resource(s) given in the <source> element's srcset attribute. If the user agent does not support the given type, the <source> element is skipped.

 <source srcset="mdn-logo.svg" type="image/svg+xml">
 <img src="mdn-logo.png" alt="MDN">


Specification Status Comment
HTML Living Standard
The definition of '<picture>' in that specification.
Living Standard Initial definition

Browser compatibility

Feature Chrome Edge Firefox Internet Explorer Opera Safari
Basic support 38 13


32 — 521

No 25 9.1
Feature Android webview Chrome for Android Edge mobile Firefox for Android IE mobile Opera Android iOS Safari
Basic support 38 38 Yes


32 — 521

No 25 9.3

1. From version 32 until version 52 (exclusive): this feature is behind the dom.image.picture.enabled preference (needs to be set to true). To change preferences in Firefox, visit about:config.

See also

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