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A Picasso hanging on your wall? A fantasy. But a masterpiece decking your computer for free is as easy a click because The Metropolitan Museum of Art has opened 400,000 high-resolution images to the public.

It is an unprecedented initiative called Open Access for Scholarly Content (OAS) from one of the world’s largest and best collectors of art. You just have to go to the Met website and search by artist, medium, location, and era. Digital reproductions of the images are nearly 10 megapixels in size. There’s a lot you can do with ten megapixels but do bear in mind that that the facility is for non-commercial use. The images are believed to be in the public domain and also free from other restrictions.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

As the collection keeps growing, it will continue to be a great resource for students, educators, researchers, curators, academic publishers, non-commercial documentary filmmakers, and others involved in scholarly or cultural work. This FAQ goes into more details on intended use.

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art said:

“Through this new, open-access policy, we join a growing number of museums that provide free access to images of art in the public domain. I am delighted that digital technology can open the doors to this trove of images from our encyclopedic collection.”

The Museum joins the league of extraordinary open initiatives like the Google Art Project and other virtual museums Visit These 5 (Virtual) Museums Without Leaving Home Visit These 5 (Virtual) Museums Without Leaving Home Read More that have opened up their archives for the everyday guy on the couch. We also had talked about Smithsonian’s X 3D project The Smithsonian's X 3D Project Brings Rare Artifacts To Life, In Your Browser The Smithsonian's X 3D Project Brings Rare Artifacts To Life, In Your Browser Enter the Smithsonian with an ambitious project that showcases incredibly accurate 3D scans of many of its artifacts, so that we can all experience them for free from the comfort of our homes. Read More that brought the riches of history closer to us. If you are a historian looking for Aztec reliefs, a student researching contemporary art, or a hobbyist interested in the history of photographic prints… head towards the collection.

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Oh, and about that Picasso? There are more than 500 on view. So, take your pick for the download.

Source: Met Museum via The Verge | Image Credit: mcgrayflickr

  1. Mark O'Neill
    May 21, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    God, I could spend weeks and months on that site. There's so much!!

    • Saikat B
      May 22, 2014 at 3:39 am

      It will take a lifetime. And more...because digital files will keep on being added. It is beautifully organized as well.

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