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.
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.
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 collection of Walters Art Museum contains thousands of art works from the third millennium B.C to the 20th century, ranging from mummies to arms and armor, from old master paintings to Art Nouveau jewelry around the globe and across ages. Through their online collections, users can search or browse images in several ways, which include category, date, creator, medium and tags. Users can also login using their Facebook account to create their own online collections.
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.
The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery are the Smithsonian’s museums of Asian art. Together, both galleries holds “some of the most important holdings of Asian art in the world”, with Asian-inspired American art and contemporary art in Asia. More than 40,000 objects are available online. Users can search or browse by object type, topic, name, place and date.
One of the oldest galleries in Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) houses more than 70,000 works of art. Their digital collection contains close to 59,000 images of Australian and international works of art. Users may search or browse by the different collection areas.
One of the oldest and largest museums in Japan, TNM features collections of art and archaeological artefacts in Japan. TNM contains two image databases: The TNM Collections and e-Museum. The TNM contains about 600 works owned by TNM, such as paintings, calligraphy, sculpture, decorative arts and archaeology. The e-Musuem contains images of national treasures and important cultural properties owned by Japan’s four National Institutes for Cultural Heritage (Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Kyushu).
The British Museum is one of the largest museums in the world that is dedicated to human history and culture. Currently a work in progress, the British Museum database is “an inventory of the Museum’s collection and aims to record what is known about it”. To date, the database contains more than 2.1 million records with new records, updates and images added every week.
Based in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the State Hermitage Museum is one of the world’s largest and oldest museums. From Paleolithic to contemporary, the museum has more than 3 million items in its holding. The museum also has the world’s largest collection of paintings, which includes famous paintings from the great masters, such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, etc.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is continually making their collections accessible online. To date, their collections span from paintings, prints, drawings, photography to more specific works like African art, Asian art, decorative arts and new media.
The Museum of Fine Arts Boston is one of the most comprehensive museums in the world. From Ancient Egypt to contemporary art, the museum has nearly 450,000 works of art in its holdings. Its digital collection allows users to search and refine the results by collection type and classification.
The Art Gallery of New South Wales is one of Australia’s leading art museums. It contains more than 30,000 objects of Australian, European and Asian art. More than half of their objects are Australian art. Their digital collection contains more than 18,000 images across different types, media and origins.
As one of the largest museums in the world, the Metropolitan Museum (MET) provides access to more than 400,000 high-resolution digital images of public domain works across different periods and geographic locations. Such works can be downloaded directly from the Museum’s website for non-commercial use—including in scholarly publications in any media—without permission from the Museum and without a fee.
The collection provides access to more than 125,000 paintings by Dutch artists, such as Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer. Users can explore and search the entire collection, which is handily sorted by artist, subject, style and even by events in Dutch history. Each painting can be downloaded in high-resolution or view at close-up. The museum also provides an application, RijksStudio, to invite users to create their own masterpieces by downloading images of artworks or details of artworks in the Rijksmuseum collection and using them in a creative way.