In their new Open Access policy implemented on February 7th, 2017, the Met released unrestricted access to copyright-free photographs to the public, allowing anyone to distribute, copy, and even remix any image, for any reason. Many of these works are not currently on display, so it’s an art and design-lover’s haven for inspiration and research. Plus, many of the photographs are available for download in high-resolution.
“You are welcome to use images of artworks in The Met’s collection that the Museum believes to be in the public domain, or those to which the Museum waives any copyright it might have, for any purpose, including commercial and noncommercial use, free of charge and without requiring permission from the Museum,” reads their official policy.
In collaboration with Creative Commons Zero (CC0), the Met’s goal is to make its art and design collections easily accessible to the public. Users can also download images directly from the Met’s website (be sure to click ‘Public Domain’ in the search filters). They can also conveniently separate their search by artist/culture, object type/material, geographic location, date/era, and department.
“We’ve created 20 thematic sets of images to get you started: Masterpiece Paintings, Cats, Monsters and Mythological Creatures, Met-staches, New York City, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, Winter Wonderland, Vincent van Gogh, The Pre-Raphaelite Style, Self-Portraits, Quilts, Gold, Georges Seurat, Arms and Armor, The Monuments Men at The Met, Faces from the Ancient World, Tiffany Glass, Dress to Impress, Art or Design?, and Dishes,” states the Met’s Open Access Policy.
So whether you want to use high-res photographs from a 4000 year-old artist in your new installation or gleam design tips from the curves of a chair designed by Gaudí, the Met’s website is literally where it’s at right now.