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ART 105 - West - Exploring Art and Visual Culture: Art Images & Copyright


images courtesy: ArtStor

Art Images from Museums & Libraries

 Art Institute of Chicago

  • High quality images of artworks in the Art Institute's collections​.
  • For use under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.

 Cleveland Museum of Art

  • Digital images from the Cleveland Museum of Art collection.
  • Searchable by artist, date, culture, and object type.
  • Much of the collection is available for commercial and non-commercial use via Open Access with Creative Commons. Searches can be filtered to show only these Open Access Images.

 Cooper Hewitt Museum

  • Digital images from the Cooper Hewitt Museum collection.
  • Especially strong in textiles, decorative arts and product design.
  • Collection images free to use under the Creative Commons Zero License.

Getty Museum - Open Content

  • Digital images from the collections of the Getty Museum.
  • Browsable by medium, topic, geography and name and can be limited to Open Content images.
  • Open Content images can be used for any purpose without first seeking permission from the Getty, but the following attribution must be used: Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.

Guggenheim Museum - Exhibition Catalogs

  • Digital images of exhibition catalogs.
  • Copyright belongs to the Guggenheim, but may be used under Fair Use.

Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division and Library of Congress Photos

  • Images organized by collection.
  • Copyright varies. See individual items for details on obtaining permissions.

World Digital Library (joint project from the Library of Congress and UNESCO)

  • Primary sources including documents, images and audiovisual materials.
  • Check copyright with the institution owning the object.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection Online

  • 400,000 high-resolution digital images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection.
  • Browsable via artist, maker, culture, object type, material, geographic location, era, and department.
  • Downloadable.
  • For non-commercial use—including in scholarly publications in any media—without permission from the Museum and without a fee.

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

  • Provided the source is cited, personal and educational use (as defined by fair use in Copyright Law) is permitted.

Museum of Modern Art

  • MOMA notes taht images may be used under Fair use without consulting the Museum.

National Gallery of Art

  • Images that the NGA believes are in the public domain.
  • Users may download free of charge without seeking authorization from the Gallery.

New York Public Library Digital Collections

  • Copyright on NYPL digital images varies.  See individual item for more details.
  • For permissions and information on use contact:

Smithsonian Collections Online

  • Images may be used freely for non-commercial purposes.

Smithsonian Open Access

  • Images, information and other materials which can be used freely in educational settings.

Walters Art Museum 

  • Images from the American art collections of the Walters Museum.
  • Images can be freely used for educational purposes.

Digital Public Library of America

  • Images organized by topic.
  • Copyright varies. See individual items for details on obtaining permissions.

Europeana Digital Image Collection

  • 14.6 million digital resources from Europe's museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections.
  • Images - paintings, drawings, maps, photos and pictures of museum objects.
  • Texts - books, newspapers, letters, diaries and archival papers.
  • Sounds - music and spoken word from cylinders, tapes, discs and radio broadcasts.
  • Videos - films, newsreels and TV broadcasts.

British Museum Images

Louvre Museum

  • Non-commercial re-use is authorized, provided the source and author are acknowledged.

Musees Paris

  • Search is filtered to Royalty Free Images


  • Images freely available to use from this major museum in the Netherlands.
  • Arranged by period and artist, but also searchable.
  • Especially good for images of paintings from the Northern Renaissance.

VADS: the Online Resource for Digital Art and Design Images

  • Links to digitized art and design collections and archives in the United Kingdom.

Art UK

  • Links to digitized art museum collections in the United Kingdom.

Art Images from the Web


  • Enables searching by period or artist and provides text.
  • Images identify museum which holds the artwork. For rights information, go to museum website.

Art Images for College Teaching

  • Images of architecture and art
  • While the images are believed to be of public domain works; if you decide to use any of the images in the collectoin, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission.

Art Renewal Center (ARC): Click on Museum

  • Allows searching of artworks by artist or name of the work.
  • Consult website of museum owning the work for information on use.

Digital Imaging Project (Architecture)

  • Photographs are all from the website creator who allows free use for educational (non-commercial) purposes

Pics4 Learning

  • Images free to use in educational settings.

Google Art Project

  • Most images were contributed by museums and are free for educational use. Consult the website of the museum holding the work.

Smithsonian Open Access Images

  • Open access images from the museum collection.

Image Database Subscriptions at PCC


The Smithsonian has released 2.8 million high-resolution two- and three-dimensional images from across its collections onto an open access online platform for patrons to peruse and download free of charge. Featuring data and material from all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives and the National Zoo, the new digital depot encourages the public to not just view its contents, but use, reuse and transform them into just about anything they choose—be it a postcard, a beer koozie or a pair of bootie shorts.