The Art Institute of Chicago was founded as both a museum and school for fine arts around 1879. Today, it houses more than 300,000 works of art in their permanent collections, ranging from “Chinese bronzes to contemporary design and from textiles to installation art”. The digital collection contains more than 80,000 images, where you can search or browse by categories. The website also allows you to sign up for an account and make your own art collections by selecting artworks and adding notes about them. You can save your “collections” to revisit in the future or share them with your friends.
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.
LACMA houses more than 120,000 objects across different media, region and periods such as Greek, Roman and Etruscan art, Asian art, American and Latin American art, decorative arts and design, photography, and modern and contemporary art. The digital collections provide access to more than 53,000 images of artworks with more than 20,000 that LACMA believes to be in the public domain. Users can search and filter the results by artist, classification, curatorial area, periods and location.
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.
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).
Through the Open Content Program, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute provide access to more than 87,000 images from their collections. The images include more than 72,000 from the Research Institute’s Foto Arte Minore archive, which features photographs of the art and architecture of Italy over 30 years by German photographer and scholar Max Hutzel (1913–1988). Other images include paintings, drawings, manuscripts, photographs, antiquities, sculpture, decorative arts, artists’ sketchbooks, watercolors, rare prints from the 16th through the 18th century, and 19th-century architectural drawings of cultural landmarks. Over time, images from the Getty Conservation Institute will be added, as well as more images from the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute.
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 Guggenheim Museum contains an extensive holding of over 7,000 artworks from the late 19th century to present day. Their collection online presents “a searchable database of selected artworks from the Guggenheim’s permanent collection of over 7,000 artworks”, which includes works from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. The database can also be browsed by artists, dates, mediums, movements and venues.
The Tate is a group of four museums, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate St. Ives, Cornwall and Tate Modern. The museums focus on British art and International contemporary and modern art. Its digital database contains more than 69,000 images of collections across the museums. Among them, more than 7,300 are with Creative Commons. Users can search and refine the results by date, object type, artist, subject and collection.
The Van Gogh Museum is an art museum dedicated to the works of Vincent van Gogh. It contains the largest collection of his paintings and drawings in the world. The digital collection contains more than 830 works by Vincent and his contemporaries. The digital images of the works can be downloaded for non-commercial purposes in high-resolution, which are an average of 6,000 x 6,000 pixels. The collection can be searched or filtered by artist, location, year, type and genre.
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.
The V&A Museum houses more than 1.1 million objects and works of art in their collections. Their digital collection currently contains more than 450,000 images covering a wide range of topics, which include ceramics, fashion, furniture, glass, metalwork, paintings, photographs, prints, sculpture, and textiles.
Consists of two museums, de Young and Legion of Honor, the FAMSF contain 150,000 objects in their permanent collection. More than 90% of their collection were digitised and made available through their website. Users are able to search or browse the collection by object type, century, country and department.
The National Gallery in London contains the national collection of Western European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries, with works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Renoir, Van Gogh and more. The collection can be filtered by subjects, themes, artists, styles and timeline. Subjects include Travel, Still Life & Objects, People & Costume, Land, Sea & City, Work & Leisure, Seasons & Weather, Religious & Biblical, Mythological, Plants & Animals and Historical.
Atlas is an online database that provides images and information of the works exhibited at the Louvre Museum in English language. To date, there are approximately 30,000 items in Atlas.
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.
NGA Images is an online repository of digital images of the collections of the National Gallery of Art. The Gallery has one of the finest art collections in the world with works spanning from the Middle Ages to present day. Their strongest collection is the Italian Renaissance collection, which includes masterpieces from Raphael, Titian, Filippo Lippi and Giovanni Bellini. Through NGA Images, more than 37,000 digital images are available free of charge for download and use.