Art and Design

A World OF Delicious (FREE) Digital Content


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Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853 – 1890) Irises, 1889, Oil on canvas 74.3 × 94.3 cm (29 1/4 × 37 1/8 in.), 90.PA.20 The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Museums today are in a state of rapid change.  Many are facing the reality that in order to reach larger numbers of people, their model for making content available is going to need to change.  Museums are now making access to imagery of works within their collections easier.  This is now a global phenomenon. As a result, many museums are making their content available in an open and free way (to use) to those who view their web sites.  The image that I have used of Vincent Van Gogh’s Irises is owned by the Getty Museum in California.  The image of that painting is available for personal and professional use. Some museums have NO limit to how the images are used, while others have some restrictions, such as unlimited noncommercial use.  To find out the specifics, you will need to read the fine print.  The rule to remember is that artwork by an artist is part of the public domain once the artist has been deceased for 70 years or more from today’s date.  You will need to know this information before publicly sharing an image. you may also have to provide attribution if you use the image publicly (meaning where the image comes from, the location of the museum, the arts, the medium, and perhaps it’s dimensions and date of creation).  Some museums have begun offering their image licenses free of charge through a movement called the creative commons zero which grants anyone who uses proper attribution of their images free use of the artwork image.

To assist you in this effort, I am including a list of links to a variety of museums world-wide who have open content.  A sampling of them:

The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
Located in L.A. County California
https://www.metmuseum.org/ (Use search acronym OASC for the copyright-free stuff) Located in NYC.
https://www.clevelandart.org/open-access (this link takes you to the information page for their digital content)
https://www.artic.edu/image licensing (this link will take you to the Institute’s information page on creative commons and their policy on use of their images).  Page for the Art Institute of Chicago.
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org The downloading process is a little cumbersome, so go here to read about how to download the images (which are worth it we think): https://www.about.biodiversitylibrary.org/ufaqs/how-do-i-dowmload-a-single-page-high-resolution-image/ You can also see the images that they have uploaded to Flickr, the image hosting website here https://www.flickr.com/photos/biodivlibrary/albums/page1
https://collections.lacma.org. Search public domain images on their site to be taken to their collection of them.
https://collections.tepapa.govt.nz. This is the for the Museum of New Zealand.
https://www.parismuseecollections.paris.fr/fr. This link is for the public entity that oversees all of the public museums in Paris France.  It is here that you will be able to navigate through the museums and galleries that are part of the public system. From the Homepage, select advanced search (recherche avancée). Then select the free images only filter (image libre de droit seulement) then enter your search terms.
British Museums have stridently resisted opening up their content for public use.  We wish this weren’t the case, considering just how much material they looted from Greece and Rome and Egypt, but I suppose time will work its magic on them and they will eventually come around.

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