Metropolitan Museum of Art makes more than 375,000 public domain images available as CC0

The Met's collection contains over 375,000 images of art in the public domain; they've made these directly searchable and browseable, there's a Github repo of metadata, integration with the Creative Commons search tool, and extensive collaboration with Wikimedia and GLAM Wiki.

“The Met has again proven itself a leader among the world’s great cultural institutions. By opening their vast collection of art and antiquities to be freely available under Creative Commons Zero, they are lighting the way for other institutions to follow,” said Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “Wikipedia's hundreds of millions of users from around the globe will now be able to experience The Met's greatest treasures, no matter where they live. This remarkable cultural heritage is now free for anyone to view, share, and use."

Loic Tallon, The Met’s Chief Digital Officer, said: “In our digital age, the Museum’s audience is not only the 6.7 million people who visited The Met’s three locations in New York City this past year, but also the three-billion-plus internet-connected individuals around the world. Adopting the CC0 designation for our images and data is one of the most effective ways the Museum can help audiences gain access to the collection and further its use by educators and students, artists and designers, professionals and hobbyists, as well as creators of all kinds. I am particularly delighted to be launching the Museum’s CC0 policy in collaboration with Creative Commons, Artstor, DPLA, Pinterest and the Wikipedia community, and for their support in bringing the Museum’s collection to their users.”

We've created 20 thematic sets of images to get you started: Masterpiece Paintings, Cats, Monsters and Mythological Creatures, Met-staches, New York City, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, Winter Wonderland, Vincent van Gogh, The Pre-Raphaelite Style, Self-Portraits, Quilts, Gold, Georges Seurat, Arms and Armor, The Monuments Men at The Met, Faces from the Ancient World, Tiffany Glass, Dress to Impress, Art or Design?, and Dishes.

Public domain art [The Met]

The Met Makes Its Images of Public-Domain Artworks Freely Available through New Open Access Policy [The Met]

The Met Makes 375,000 Public Domain Images Available [Kacy Burdette/Fortune]

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  1. Replace the "boingboing.net" in the URL with "metmuseum.org."
    Or go here:

  2. Forget about the frames, I just want a decent Roku screensaver app.

    The Cleveland Museum of Art's phone app from a few years ago made you download a ton of JPGs. I went on my android and pulled all the files, put them on on a USB stick(with a bunch of other artwork my wife and I picked) and used that for images on a screensaver on my Roku. My only complaint is that none of the picture screensaver apps on Roku are any good. Images are either off center, clipped, or move. I can't find one that will just fit the images on the screen.

    Still, I'm going to be going through this and adding more images to that USB stick.

  3. Those look really cool, but I sell public domain art prints, so I'm mostly hoping that they don't put me out of business.

    One clear disadvantage I see is that most artwork isn't going to fit the dimensions of the frame. In fact, some of the artworks that Meural is showing on their front page animation are clearly cropped. With tens of thousands of works to choose from, you'll always be able to find something that looks good inside the frame, but when there's a specific piece that you want, there's a strong possibility that it won't.

    How much people care about this is a separate question. People buy prints and canvas wraps all the time that have been cropped to fit standard dimensions. Costs and convenience seem to trump faithfulness to the original artwork, but I wish that they didn't.

  4. It'll be interesting to see where the market goes on this. Digital picture frames never really took off, so I'm guessing these won't be terribly popular either. But they do offer some advantages in terms of changing up the wall art regularly, and (perhaps most interestingly) the ability to display moving images. Up until these devices came out, there really wasn't a market for "reprints" of moving art. I've seen lots of installations and pieces of moving art, but they are really only available in the museum (unless you can afford to buy and display them on your own). These change that, and make moving art pieces available at home. There are limitations of course - just like the format issues you describe for paintings, moving images probably won't be the same as they are in the museum. But they never really are, I think - prints are supposed to remind the viewer, not replace the experience of the original art.

  5. Yes! This could be very useful in future hedgehog art history research.

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