Art-valanche! Metropolitan Museum of Art goes open access

Here’s a balm to current world events, and a fine way to spend some time on a rainy Friday. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has this week announced it is making hundreds of thousands of images available, without restriction, to the public.

The move will see 375,000 images of artworks from The Met’s permanent collection open for downloading, sharing and remixing. Previously, only scholars had full access to this digital reservoir.

To look through these open-access images, you can head over to The Met’s online collection, and order the records to only show “Public Domain Artworks”. These pictures should have a Creative Commons Zero CC0 icon – which looks like an encircled zero – as well as an option to download.

Going open access means that, as well as being able to download the images, the public can use them free of charge – for anything ranging from printing T-shirts to game design.  

The Met also announced new partnerships with Creative Commons, Wikimedia, Artstor, Pinterest and the Public Library of America. “We expect these partnerships to become an ever-larger component of the Digital Department’s work,” wrote Loic Tallon, chief digital officer for The Met in a blog post.

“We’re privileged to serve over 30 million visitors on our website each year, which we see as the canonical source for information about the collection; but if we want to connect the collection to three billion individuals around the world, we know that they’re never all going to come to”

If trawling through 375,000 images seems daunting, fear not. The Met has collated a number of different digital collections, including Masterpiece paintingsImpressionism and Post-Impressionism, and, um, cats. They know their internet audience, it seems.

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