Metropolitan Museum of Art Releases 375k Images to Public

Louis Comfort Tiffany bowls, squash windows, and vase  ca. early 1900s
Louis Comfort Tiffany bowls, squash windows, and vase ca. early 1900s
Photo of Amber C. Snider
Home & Design Editor28 February 2017

Whether you want to peruse 19th century Tiffany’s glassware or 4,000 year-old Egyptian furniture, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has released over 375,000 unrestricted images of art and design to the public.

Early Dynastic Period furniture and homewares, ca. 3100-2900 BC

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.

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.

George A. Schastey & Co. chandelier, Gilbert Rohde chair, Jean Dunand lacquered wood chair, Tiffany & Co. silver pitcher

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