The Metropolitan Museum of Art Makes 375,000 Images of Fine Art Available Under a Creative Commons License: Download, Use & Remix

What do you need to make art? Why, art, of course: the works that have come before pro­vide inspi­ra­tion, estab­lish a tra­di­tion to fol­low and expand, and now, in our dig­i­tal age, even pro­vide the very mate­ri­als to work with. The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art has assured us that we should feel free to “use, remix, and share” their lat­est batch of 375,000 dig­i­tized art­works of a vari­ety of forms and from a vari­ety of eras in any which way we like. In part­ner­ship with Cre­ative Com­mons, they’ve released them all under the lat­ter’s CC0, or “no rights reserved” license, which places them “as com­plete­ly as pos­si­ble in the pub­lic domain, so that oth­ers may freely build upon, enhance and reuse the works for any pur­pos­es with­out restric­tion under copy­right or data­base law.”

But fea­tur­ing these sorts of projects often here on Open Cul­ture, we know that a trove of art images, no mat­ter how open, is only as good as its search tools. A new search tool comes new­ly devel­oped by Cre­ative Com­mons, and in fact they still describe it as “in beta,” but it shows promise as a means to, as pro­mot­ed, “explore this beau­ti­ful col­lec­tion, cre­ate con­tent lists, share, col­lab­o­rate, and learn.” You can get start­ed using it here, but if you want to focus specif­i­cal­ly on the con­tents of the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art col­lec­tion, make sure to uncheck the oth­er search options, which include the New York Pub­lic Library and the Rijksmu­se­um. Or you can first have a look at three curat­ed gal­leries, one of mas­ter­piece paint­ings, one of Impres­sion­ism and Post-Impres­sion­ism, and one “cabal of cats from the Met’s cab­i­nets, com­piled by the curi­ous cura­tors of the col­lec­tion.”

You can also assem­ble and share gal­leries of your own, in just the way you might on oth­er image-ori­ent­ed social-media sites such as Pin­ter­est, which, along with Wiki­me­dia, Art­stor, and the Dig­i­tal Pub­lic Library of Amer­i­ca, also calls itself a part­ner in the Met’s broad­er Open Access Ini­tia­tive, and which offers its own users the abil­i­ty to search this dig­i­tal col­lec­tion. (The Met has also cre­at­ed a pub­lic GitHub repos­i­to­ry.) And giv­en the ever-expand­ing breadth of the art­works already dig­i­tized and made free, you’ll sure­ly find many you’re inter­est­ed in — but its real rev­o­lu­tion­ary appeal lies in what you’ll find, and what you’ll do with, the art you don’t know you’re inter­est­ed in yet.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

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

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

Down­load 464 Free Art Books from The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art

Down­load Hun­dreds of Free Art Cat­a­logs from The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art

Down­load Over 250 Free Art Books From the Get­ty Muse­um

LA Coun­ty Muse­um Makes 20,000 Artis­tic Images Avail­able for Free Down­load

Down­load 100,000 Free Art Images in High-Res­o­lu­tion from The Get­ty

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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