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 576 art catalogs and other books besides. Those sit alongside the 400,000 free art images the museum put online last year.
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 Ivories, Chess: East and West, Past and Present; Modern 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).
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.
Download Over 250 Free Art Books From the Getty Museum
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
Where to Find Free Art Images & Books from Great Museums, and Free Books from University Presses800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices
Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture as well as the video series The City in Cinema and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.
Thanks a lot, this list is great!
From Mexico City, thank you very very much!!!
This is priceless – thank you!
MAY ALL THE G_DS ABOVE LOOK WITH FAVOR UPON THE MUSEUM.
This is an amazing resource, what we dreamed of when the internet first came into our lives. Thank you so much.
I NEED IT 422 ART BOOK VERY URGENT
Thank you. May the museum continue to grow and be a blessing to all the knowledge seekers around the world.
Thanks a lot also from Frankfurt/Germany!
Gracias por compartir esta página.
Thanks to share this, thanks
how can i download it? can you please tell me!!
Thanks for sharing this :D
Can you tell me how is the painter of this?
Thanks! This has made the downloads server at the Met to collapse, though.
Great idea, please send.
Hi, this is a great web page, thank you very much.
I am mexican . I Thank you very much, God bless the fine people of the Metropolitan .
What a fantastic opportunity and web site…thank you!!
Fabulous effort. Thanks so very much for this, what a lot of work has gone into this, so grateful. I live in Perth Australia and we do have a wonderful art gallery, but this is the icing on the cake.
Wow..I’m an Fine Arts grad & think this is a marvelous web page. Thank you & please send. Best Regards!
I get this message when i try to download: Http/1.1 Internal Server Error 43531
Yeah! thank you
Thank you so much!!
Thank you! As a visual arts teacher, I am always looking for online information and images. You have made my job so much easier to share the world’s artistic treasures with my students!
Thank you so much ….
thanks colin for your nice post.
Thank you for this lovely collection. You are an angel.
Thank you so much for the offer but how I can downdoad it?
thanks so much
Interesting, thanks for posting!
I do like the challenge to read art books now.
Thanks . Keep me updated on your other items as well .
Wonderful…thank you !…what an art feast !
Would appreciate the art books very much. Thanks!
Send me fine art book
Thank you for this priceless chest of treasure! Now I can call myself well prepared for cold winter evenings and nights.
This is wonderful.
Thank you so much for this generous offer; of great value to those of us who love are.
Thanks, Tony, for your lovely phrase “… art is my dessert of life.” Yes, it is, and all gratitude to the Met for this website.
Thank you so much for this. :)
What a brilliant thing thank you, I will be using it
What a brilliant idea…thank you, I will be using it.
What a brilliant idea…thank you so much.
What a luxury!! This is a real heavenly “present”!!! Thank you so much!!!!
What a brilliant idea…thank you so much. SPASIBO!!!
This is wonderful.
I’m looking forward to this unexpected treasure trove,unbelievable!!
A great service to the spread of knowledge worldwide. Thank you.
I am teaching a Humanities course on Food in Literature, Life, and Art, and this collection is priceless! Thank you so much!
Thank you for this gift. Words cannot express what a wonderful addition to my life this will be. Thank you!
thank you so much it will be a pleasure to look at them help and inspire in doing my own work
Thank you very much. This is incredible.
thanks so very much. this is what the internet was hoping to be many years ago. i don’t now how you can do this but i thank you for finding a way!
Thank you, this is a treasure.
I am an Antique – Archaeology expert, Painter and Writer.
And I am very grateful to you for sharing such a valuable treasure with us.
With my deepest respect from Istanbul.
From iran , Thank You , we love art .
Thank you for sharing these heritages.
thanks for your gift
Thank you so much for your effort, hard work and the gift you give the world!!! Once again thank you from Romania!!!
tanx a lot
A wonderful gift.
Thank you so much for your effort
I like you send me nice art book on my email. thanks
Nice information thank you
Art information very nice
Thanks!!!!!!!!!!! Great this gift for many people, Thanks!!!!!! MET
Thanks for sharing this, i am in california but hard to get out right now. this is what is good about internet is that art can be shared.
I want books about puppet theater
This all is the best
wonderful public service Met Museum have provided-much appreciated
Very grateful for the magnificent present.
It is quite incredible…
I cannot find my way to the download site or maybe the site is overloaded, would you be so kind to show me the way to do it properly? Thank you for your response,
Where is the site?
And how do you download?
Masters of anatomy please
Hoping to receive this thank you in advance.
Thanksfor share art
God bless you! No amount of thanks can clearly articulate the infinite value and concomitant joy of this resource.
Will be very happy to use it. Thank you.
This is so beautiful!
Many of the books do not appear to be available for download. A preview can be seen at Google Books, but that’s it.
Thank’s You Service…