Kunstformen der Natur (or known in English as Art Forms in Nature) is a book of prints by German biologist, Ernst Haeckel. The geometric shapes and natural forms captured precisely by Haeckel continue to inspire artists and scientists. Via Wikimedia Commons, you may access more than 100 illustrations from the publication.
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.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) or National Archives is a “record keeper” of the United States Federal government. Besides contributions from the National Archives, the Flickr account contains photographs from the National Archives and the federal photography project called Project DOCUMERICA (1971 – 1977). The project was initiated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to capture the environmental problems and achievements of that era.
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 National Gallery of Australia is one of the largest museums in the country. It houses more than 160,000 works of art in Australian art, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander art, Asian art, European and American art, Asian art and Pacific art. Users can conduct a keyword search or browse by the different categories.
Established in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) is one of the largest museums in the United States. The museum collection houses more than 65,000 works of art from antiquity to present day. Users can search by keywords or browse by collecting areas, artist/maker, culture, classification and artist nationality.
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.
Since mid 1700s, the Princeton University has been collecting art. To date, there are more than “92,000 works of art spanning the world of art from antiquity to the present”, as mentioned by James Christen Steward, the Director of the Princeton University Art Museum. Users can search or browse by different collections.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) is among the largest museums in Canada. To date, there are about 41,000 works in their holdings. Their collections are distributed across six sections: Archaeology and World Cultures, Early to Modern International Art, Quebec and Canadian Art, International Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts and Design, and Graphic Arts and Photography. Users can search or browse images by the different sections.
Since 2013, British Library released more than 1 million images to Flickr Commons. The images were obtained from the Library’s digitised collection of 65,000 books of the 17th, 18th and 19th century. The release of these images indicates the Library’s desire “to improve knowledge of and about them, to enable novel and unexpected ways of using them, and to begin working with researchers to explore and interpret large scale digital collections”. The images are arranged by different themes, such as book covers, illustrated letters, maps, flora and children book illustrations.
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.
According to their Annual Report 2014, the Philadelphia Museum of Art contains about 227,000 works of art in their collections. More than 100,000 images are made available through their digital collection. Users can search by keywords, artist, country of work and curatorial departments.
The Tret’yakov Gallery (or the State Tretyakov Gallery) houses a comprehensive collection of Russian fine art from the 12th century onwards. Their digital collection allows user to search or browse more than 2,000 artworks by categories, periods and artists.
The Cleveland Museum of Art houses close to 45,000 objects that span across 6,000 years. Their online collection provides access to close to 34,800 images. Users can search or browse by various collections, creators and types.
Founded in 1965, the Israel Museum is “the largest cultural institution in the State of Israel”. They houses encyclopaedic collections, ranging from pre-history to the present day in archaelogy, fine arts and Jewish art. Their digital image database, IMAGINE, allows users to search and browse the collections by exhibitions, collections or departments.
Developed by The Open Knowledge Foundation, The Public Domain Review is “an online journal and not-for-profit project dedicated to promoting and celebrating the public domain in all its richness and variety”, as according to the website. Images in their collections are derived from a wide range of online archives, that are on public domain. The images are arranged by topics, where users can search or browse by time, style, genre, type, content and rights.
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.
The Whitney Museum of American Art houses a comprehensive range of “twentieth-century and contemporary American art, with a special focus on works by living artists”. Their digital collection provides access to more than 21,000 artworks from more than 3,000 artists. Users can search or browse by artist.
VADS is an “online resource for visual arts”. Over 12 years, VADS built a portfolio of visual art collections, which comprise of “over 100,000 images that are freely available and copyright cleared for use in learning, teaching and research in the UK”. These collections were contributed by various institutions in the UK. Through the site, users can search or browse by collections and themes. VADS also provides a series of resources that were built around the image collections by “specialist authors and lecturers”.