375,000 images now free from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Posted On Sun, February 12, 2017 By

Posted On Sun, February 12, 2017 By In Art, Technology

The Times may have recently questioned whether or not the Metropolitan Museum of Art is “a great institution in decline” (referring to its $40 million deficit and decision to put on hold its $600 million expansion), but the paper is much more positive when reporting on the Met’s new Open Access policy. This allows free and unrestricted use of 375,000 high-resolution images of artworks in their collection, ranging from paintings by Van Gogh, El Greco and DeGas to ancient Egyptian relics to classical furniture and clothing.

the met museum, metropolitan museum of art, steps of the met museum

The new policy is thanks to a collaboration with Creative Commons Zero (CCo), Wikimedia, Artstor, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Art Resource, and Pinterest. So far, 375,000 images of 200,000 works from the Met’s main collections have been placed in the public domain. An additional 65,000 have been digitized, but aren’t available for public use. This only covers about 13 percent of the Met’s total collection, which is about 1.5 million works. According to museum director Thomas P. Campbell, the rest of the art that’ll be digitized includes prints, engravings, and ephemera. In a statement, he said, “Our comprehensive and diverse museum collection spans 5,000 years of world culture. Our core mission is to be open and accessible for all who wish to study and enjoy the works of art in our care. Increasing access to the museum’s collection and scholarship serves the interests and needs of our 21st-century audiences by offering new resources for creativity, knowledge, and ideas.”

The Met completed another generous endeavor in 2015 when it added 422 free titles to its MetPublications site, which provides digitized versions of new and archived books and catalogs, some of which can cost upwards of $200 in real life.

Explore the Met’s image and data resources here>>

[Via artnet and NYT]

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Lead image: Cypresses by Vincent van Gogh, 1889 (left); The Royal Acquaintances Memi and Sabu from Egypt, ca. 2575–2465 B.C. (center); Fancy dress costume by Paul Poiret, 1911 (right)

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