The New York Times wrote yesterday of a new start-up called Art.sy, which is digitizing works of fine art to catalog in its database, called the “Art Genome Project”. Their service is similar to Pandora, which mapped a “music genome” in order to encourage user discovery of new songs, or Netflix, which uses algorithms to predict and suggest films and movies a user might like.
Art.sy already has 20,000 images in their database, is partnering with galleries, museums, and other cultural institutions to increase their catalog. In addition to traditional subject, genre, and period/movement based descriptions, Art.sy’s team is also tagging works with categories that their system will use “to make connections that are seemingly from different worlds.” These categories include ideas such as “focus on the social margins,” or “personal histories,” and “private spaces.” The system will also search for images that are most similar in terms of composition and color, providing yet another way to access different images.
For more information, see Art.sy’s blog or visit the Art.sy website, where you can request a login or browse the beta site.
Via New York Times
The National Portrait Gallery now provides free downloads of a large range of images from its Collection for academic and non-commercial projects through a new web-site facility. Over 53,000 low-resolution images will now be available free of charge to non-commercial users through a standard ‘Creative Commons’ licence and over 87,000 high-resolution images will also be available free of charge for academic use through the Gallery’s own licences.
After searching or browsing to find an image you’d like to download, click “Use this image.” You will be brought to three separate licensing agreements. The Creative Commons license allows “for limited non-commercial use. Image sizes are 800 pixels on the longest dimension at 72 dpi.” When possible, higher resolution images will be made available through this same process. Be sure to attribute your images and provide links to NPG’s Creative Commons license.
Above image: Henry Fawcett; Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett (née Garrett) by Ford Madox Brown; oil on canvas, 1872. NPG 1603. © National Portrait Gallery, London. Creative Commons License.
For more information, contact the NPG’s licensing office: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Netherlands Institute in Turkey has recently released the first installment of digital images from the vast photographic archives of Dutch historian Machiel Kiel.
A former director of the Netherlands Institute in Turkey (NIT), at which this project is now implemented, Kiel is a scholar whose career has revolved around the study of Ottoman-Islamic architectural monuments in the Balkan countries — an area of study that he pioneered. His archive represents an invaluable source for researchers of this heritage. Created for the most part between the 1960s and 90s, it contains visual documentation of many monuments that have not survived, or have been significantly altered in, the second half of the twentieth century. The publication of Kiel’s archive by the NIT is hoped to significantly advance international research on this heritage.
Images are available for publication free of charge (with attribution). For more information, see the FAQ section of this page.
The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland has donated more than 19,000 freely-licensed images of artworks to Wikimedia Commons. The Walters’ collection includes ancient art, medieval art and manuscripts, decorative objects, Asian art and Old Master and 19th-century paintings. The images and their associated information will join [a] collection of more than 12 million freely usable media files, which serves as the repository for the 285 language editions of Wikipedia.
Via Wikimedia Foundation Blog.
Designed by Gallery experts to facilitate learning, enrichment, enjoyment, and exploration, NGA Images features more than 20,000 open access digital images, up to 3,000 pixels each, available free of charge for download and use. The resource is easily accessible through the Gallery’s website, and a standards-based reproduction guide and a help section provide advice for both novices and experts.
With the launch of NGA Images, the National Gallery of Art implements an open access policy for digital images of works of art that the Gallery believes to be in the public domain. Images of these works are now available free of charge for any use, commercial or non-commercial. Users do not need to contact the Gallery for authorization to use these images.
To read more about the NGA Images Open Access policy, click here. Images downloaded from the site also include basic embedded metadata with descriptive information about the artwork. Registration is not required for presentation-sized downloads, and images may be downloaded in groups to save time. Users of NGA Images may wish to sign up for accounts in order access advanced site features, including use of lightboxes (groups of images) for saving and sharing. Registration is also required for reproduction-ready downloads. See some of the most frequently requested images here.
Three new online image resources from the Index of Christian Art are now available. The first two listed below provide high resolution images for scholarly publications upon request, free of charge.
Romanesque Art Collection
The first of these is a database of some six thousand images of medieval (mainly Romanesque) art taken by a Swiss couple who wish to remain anonymous. The collection of digitized slides covers Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and The Netherlands, and includes many lesser-known sites as well as the more familiar. Most of the images are of sculpture, architecture, or wall paintings. The collection opens with frescoes from the Chapel of Saint Leonard in Naunders, Austria and closes with Amsoldingen Church in Switzerland.
The Lois Drewer Database
When she died some five months ago Lois Drewer left the Index of Christian Art a large and unsorted collection of several thousand slides covering many countries she visited throughout her lifetime. Her wide interest in art and architecture is reflected in this collection — not surprisingly called The Lois Drewer Database — which spans landscape and garden design, to archaeological sites in the Near East, to Romanesque and Gothic architecture, to a considerable focus on Renaissance architecture. Her travels brought her to Austria, Crete, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Libya, the Netherlands, Spain, Syria, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
Gabriel Millet Collection
The third resource, and certainly the most ambitious of the three, is the first installment of images from a collaborative venture the Index entered into with the Bibliothèque Gabriel Millet in the Sorbonne, Paris. This is to catalogue the entire archive of Byzantine art that was first started in 1903. As it presently stands, the database contains nearly all of the slides (approximately 15,000) in the archive and these provide an unrivalled visual record of Byzantine art, particularly manuscripts, but with wall paintings and other media included as well.
Via the International Center of Medieval Art newsletter.
The Guggenheim has digitized 65 art catalogs and made them available online, free of charge. These texts include introductions to artists such as Kandinsky, Calder, and Munch as well as thematic introductions to modern art. Many of them contain full-color images.
If you have trouble using the online reader format (which includes an interactive page-turning feature), you can download PDFs and other versions at Archive.org.
Via Open Culture.
The Amsterdam Rijksmuseum has made images from its “basic collection” – a little over 103,000 objects – available under a Creative Commons BY 3.0 license which allows you to:
- Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
- Remix — to adapt the work
- Make commercial use of the work
These images may be used not only for classroom study and research but also for publishing, as long as the museum receives proper attribution. The collections database, in Dutch, is available here. Over 70,000 objects are also cataloged using ICONCLASS subject headings in English; this interface is available here. Click here for an example of the scan quality.
The Digital Images Collections Wiki hosted at Wellesley College contains links to image collections that are available for free online for educational or personal use. Links are organized by subject, and image quality varies by site (no images are actually hosted on the wiki). The images may not be approved for use in publication but could be used in the classroom.
For more information about fair use vs. copyright-free images, or if you have any questions, please contact the VRC.
Are you hungry for high quality, publishable images to use in your dissertation or manuscript? Trying to avoid expensive licensing fees? Not sure what images are in the public domain?
If so, consider the following resources for copyright-free or copyright-lenient images. Most image sites include both high and low resolution images, with high quality TIFFs available upon request. Please note that each resource/institution may have specific requirements for attribution or limits on print runs. When in doubt, contact the institution before using the images in your publication.
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