BILDGEIST is a “visual journal of scientific illustrations, illuminated manuscripts, photographs, prints and artworks from the public domain”. The images are of various themes including astronomy, alchemy, mythology, cartography, anthropology, zoology, botany, and general curiosa. Users can filter the contents by period, categories and keyword tags.
This collection is a cabinet of curiosities compiled by Sydney-based Paul K (also known as PK or peakay). It contains rare book illustrations and drawings from digital repositories, covering a wide range of “styles, topics and time periods… from astronomy to zoology and from Art Nouveau to the Renaissance”, as indicated by PK. Each set of images are accompanied by a URL linking to the bibliodyssey website that contains the background commentaries. A book titled “BibliOdyssey : archival images from the Internet” was also published in 2007 based on the compilation. As of October 2015, more than 10,000 images have been uploaded to Flickr.
Wikimedia Commons is a “media file repository” of public domain and freely-licensed educational media content, including images, sounds and video clips. Launched on 7 September 2004 by the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia Commons uses the “wiki-technology” that is the same technology used in Wikipedia. Wikmedia Commons also aggregates files from other projects, including Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikivoyage, Wikispecies, Wikisource, and Wikinews. As of October 2015, there are more than 28.7 million files in more than 120,000 collections. Users can conduct a keyword search or browse the content by topic, type, author, location, license and source.
The Virtual Collection of Asian Masterpieces (VCM) is a project started in 2007 by the Asia Europe Museum Network (ASEMUS). The objective is to “promote mutual understanding and appreciation between peoples of various and different cultures” using masterpieces from museums in Asia. As of October 2015, there are more than 2,500 masterpieces contributed by more than 100 museums. Users can conduct a keyword search or browse the masterpieces by museum, object type, place or period.
This site features visual mash-ups, mosaics, blends and collages created by QThomasBower. As of September 2015, there are about 400 works uploaded.
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is the national museum of New Zealand. Their collections online contain information of more than 500,000 works of art. Among them, more than 30000 have downloadable images for reuse in high resolution. Users can search by keywords.
Google developed a visual language that “synthesizes the classic principles of good design with the innovation and possibility of technology and science”, which they called “material design”. Google retains a living document of specifications of the material design. As part of the specifications, Google provides a library of system icons, created based on Google’s design principles, for download. Users can search or browse the icons arranged by categories.
Raumrot.com presents “free, handpicked stockphotos” for commercial and personal uses. As of July 2015, there are 681 of such images. Users can browse by categories or by special image sets.
MNML provides minimalistic wallpapers designed by social media marketeer, AJ Montpetit.
Using the Flickr API, Foter is a search engine for more than 190 million Creative Commons images from varied sources. Users can search images by keywords or browse them by categories. Images can be obtained by downloading or through the provided embed codes of various sizes.
The Wallace Collection is a national museum in London that houses works of art collected in the 18th and 19th centuries by the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the son of the 4th Marquess. Through Wallace Live, users can search for images of the works of art.
Vintage Printable provides images that are believed to be on public domain or out of copyright. Most of the images are focused on vintage naturalist or scientific illustrations. Users can search or browse by different categories.
The images on this site are contributed by Superfamous Studio, a design agency led by Dutch designer Folkert Gorter.
Provided by web design agency, IM Creator Ltd., IM Free Collections is “a curated collection of free web design resources”. The images are from various image sources that provided these images on Creative Commons licenses. Users can search or browse by various categories.
The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is “a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global ‘biodiversity commons'”. Started in 2011, the staff of BHL began to upload illustrations from books in their collections. These illustrations were created over the past 500 years. To date, more than 98,000 of natural history and botanical illustrations have been uploaded to their Flickr account.
This database offers access to high resolution images from the Folger Shakespeare Library, including books, theater memorabilia, manuscripts, and art. It is a good resource to explore more about the culture, people, art, costumes and fashion design during (or under the influence) of William Shakespeare (1564-1616). To date, the database contains more than 90,000 images. Users can show multiple images side-by-side, zoom in and out, view cataloging information when available, export thumbnails in various sizes, and construct persistent URLs linking back to items or searches.
Started more than 30 years ago by Cartography Associates, the David Rumsey Map Collection “focuses on rare 16th through 20th century maps of North and South America, as well as maps of the World, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania”. The collection includes “atlases, wall maps, globes, school geographies, pocket maps, books of exploration, maritime charts, and a variety of cartographic materials including pocket, wall, children’s, and manuscript maps”. Their digital collection contains more than 61,000 images, where users can search or browse by types, locations and periods. The website also provides many ways to view the map collections, such as Luna Browser, Georeferencer, Google Earth, etc. Learn more about the evolution of the physical collection into the online collection here.
Created and curated by Atle Mo, Subtle Patterns is a free resource for textured patterns. Users can also purchase their plugin to use their resource directly from Adobe Photoshop.
The Museu d’Art de Catalunya, or MNAC in short, is a national museum located in Barcelona, Spain. The museum is known for its outstanding collections of Romanesque mural paintings and Catalan Modernism. Their digital collection contains more than 8,500 images of artworks from their collections. Users can browse the collections, search and narrow the results by classification, themes and period.
Wellcome Images is one of the visual collections of the Wellcome Library. It contains themes ranging “from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and science”. To date, there are close to 130,000 images across different themes.