Download 569 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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You could pay $118 on Amazon for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's catalog The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry. Or you could pay $0 to download it at MetPublications, the site offering "five decades of Met Museum publications on art history available to read, download, and/or search for free."

If that strikes you as an obvious choice, prepare to spend some serious time browsing MetPublications' collection of free art books and catalogs.




You may remember that we featured the site a few years ago, back when it offered 397 whole books free for the reading, including American Impressionism and Realism: The Painting of Modern Life, 1885–1915; Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomical Drawings from the Royal Library; and Wisdom Embodied: Chinese Buddhist and Daoist Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art

But the Met has kept adding to their digital trove since then, and, as a result, you can now find there no fewer than 569 art catalogs and other books besides. Those sit alongside the 400,000 free art images the museum put online last year.

met museum free art books

So have a look at MetPublications' current collection and you'll find you now have unlimited access to such lush as well as artistically, culturally, and historically varied volumes as African IvoriesChess: East and West, Past and PresentModern Design in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1890–1990; Vincent Van Gogh: The Drawings; French Art Deco; or even a guide to the museum itself (vintage 1972).

chess east and est

Since I haven't yet turned to art collection — I suppose you need money for that — these books don't necessarily make me covet the vast sweep of artworks they depict and contextualize. But they do make me wish for something even less probable: a time machine so I could go back and see all these exhibits firsthand.

Note: This is an updated version of a post that originally appeared on our site in March 2015.

Related Content:

1.8 Million Free Works of Art from World-Class Museums: A Meta List of Great Art Available Online

Download Over 250 Free Art Books From the Getty Museum

2,000+ Architecture & Art Books You Can Read Free at the Internet Archive

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Puts 400,000 High-Res Images Online & Makes Them Free to Use

The Guggenheim Puts 109 Free Modern Art Books Online

800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.


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  • Mike Massen says:

    Fascinating, like the old world views, chance for provenance of societal traditions as left over from past – maybe influencing our worldview of simplicity desire whilst complexity increases…

  • Anabolena Urrea Ruiz says:

    Una grata sorpresa encontrarme con esta página… Muchas gracias

  • Maribel Kemper says:

    I love art and this page I loved, thank you

  • Julia Aranui-Faed says:

    WHAT A TREASURE. WHAT A GIFT. I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR THE GATEWAYS GIVEN ON THIS PAGE TO ALL THE WONDERS OF ART, MUSIC, HISTORY, GEOGRAPHY, AND ALL AND EVERYTHING ABOUT OUR AMAZING WORLD.
    JULIANNASONG

  • María Inmaculada Manzano Villarrubi says:

    ¿Alguien podría decirme como se titula y de quién es la obra de la mujer de los años 20 que aparece en esta entrada? o al menos que el autor de la entrada pudiera proporcionar url de donde la ha extraído. Gracias de antemano.

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