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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.
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 that have opened up their archives for the everyday guy on the couch. We also had talked about Smithsonian’s X 3D project 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.
Oh, and about that Picasso? There are more than 500 on view. So, take your pick for the download.