Smithsonian Open Access

"The Death of Cleopatra" sculpture by Edmonia Lewis

Edmonia Lewis, The Death of Cleopatra, 1876, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC (artwork and digital image both in the public domain)

Smithsonian Open Access has arrived! Just this week the Smithsonian Institution released about 2.8 million images of objects in its collections with a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) designation, so you can now download them for free and use them however you want.

The Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (which together make up the new National Museum of Asian Art) have been making images from their collections available on their website since 2015. This week’s release expands coverage to the rest of the Smithsonian’s 20 branches, including the Cooper Hewitt, the National Museum of African Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

More information is available in the Smithsonian’s press release.

Open Access at the Cleveland Museum of Art

Ma Lin, Scholar Reclining and Watching Rising Clouds, 1225-1275, Cleveland Museum of Art

Ma Lin, Scholar Reclining and Watching Rising Clouds, 1225-1275, Cleveland Museum of Art (artwork and digital image both in the public domain)

Another major American museum has joined the growing list of institutions to adopt an Open Access policy. The Cleveland Museum of Art announced this week that it is releasing about 30,000 images of works in its collection into the public domain, effective immediately. These images have been given a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) designation, which means you can use them for anything, without a fee or permission.

Art Institute of Chicago Images Are Now Open Access

Georges Seurat, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, 1884-86, Art Institute of Chicago

Georges Seurat, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, 1884-86, Art Institute of Chicago (artwork and digital image both in the public domain)

Good news! The Art Institute of Chicago has launched both a new website and a new Open Access policy for more than 44,000 of the images you’ll find on it. Like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum before it, the AIC has released its images into the public domain under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, which is the least restrictive kind you can use. This means that you are free to download and reuse these images for any purpose–even a commercial one–without having to pay a fee or seek any additional permission. As always, this only applies to the museum’s images of artworks which are themselves in the public domain, so most modern and contemporary art (including Picasso’s Old Guitarist and Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks) is excluded from the policy.

Barnes Foundation Releases Open Access Images

Henri Rousseau, Woman Walking in an Exotic Forest, 1905, Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia

Henri Rousseau, Woman Walking in an Exotic Forest, 1905, Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia (Photo: Courtesy of the Barnes Foundation, Merion and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

The Barnes Foundation has joined a growing list of museums and other institutions that are designating their public domain images as Open Access. As always, this applies only to artworks not still protected by copyright, so most 20th-century artists (most notably Matisse, in the case of the Barnes) are excluded. But images of works by many earlier artists (such as Renoir and Cézanne) in the Barnes’ collection are now free for unrestricted use.

Nationalmuseum Images in Wikimedia Commons

Alexander Roslin, The Lady with the Veil, 1768, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

Alexander Roslin, The Lady with the Veil, 1768, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

The Nationalmuseum in Stockholm, Sweden’s premier art collection, has released over 3000 images of its works in Wikimedia Commons. It joins other institutions which have announced their own open access policies in recent years, including another major Scandinavian collection, the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen, and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, which likewise chose to release its images through Wikimedia Commons.

You can access the Nationalmuseum’s images here, and read more about the collection here.

Open Access Week 2015

This week is Open Access Week, an annual opportunity to highlight the benefits of sharing scholarly research and resources online.

Kevin Smith, director of the Office of Copyright and Scholarly Communications at Duke University Libraries, will speak in the Morris Library Reading Room at 4:00 pm on Wednesday, October 21. His lecture, “The Meaning of Publication in the Digital Age, or What Open Access Can Do for You,” is part of UD’s celebration of Open Access Week.

You can read more about it in UDaily.

The Papal Visit

Caradosso, Pope Julius II [obverse] and View of Saint Peter's [reverse], 1506 (photo: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington)

Caradosso, Pope Julius II [obverse] and View of Saint Peter’s [reverse], 1506 (photo: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington)

Let’s face it: if you live around here, you’re probably not going to be doing a lot of driving this weekend. With all the pandemonium surrounding Pope Francis’s visit to Philadelphia, many of us are either hunkering down at home or getting out of town altogether.

What better time to think about all your favorite popes in art? Of course the first pope, Saint Peter, is a key figure. During the Middle Ages, there were a bunch of popes named Gregory and Innocent and whatnot. There was a Saint Francis (who was said to have miraculously appeared to Pope Nicholas V), but until 2013 there had never been a Pope Francis. For awhile, the Papal Court even moved from Rome to southern France, and sometimes there were simply too many popes at once. At the height of the Renaissance, Julius II commissioned Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Stanze frescoes, and Bramante’s design for rebuilding Saint Peter’s Basilica. He also collected ancient sculptures like the Apollo Belvedere and Laocoön, which would inspire generations of artists. But not everybody was a fan of such papal indulgence, or indulgences for that matter. Martin Luther and other reformers soon challenged the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. When the Medici Pope Clement VII refused to annul the first marriage of Henry VIII, the king essentially declared himself the pope of England. The Vatican countered with a series of strong popes in the later 16th and 17th centuries. Innocent X was the patron of the Baroque sculptor Algardi, while Alexander VII preferred Bernini. But the temporal power of the popes began to wane in the 18th century, and by the death of the Pius IX in 1878, the Vatican complex was all that remained under their control.

All of these images–and many thousands more–are now free and available for anyone to use (legally!) because they were provided by institutions that have adopted generous Open Access policies. So thank you to such museums as the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Walters Art Museum, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery, among others. I encourage everyone to reward them with a little extra Web traffic this papal weekend!

Shared Shelf Commons Now Available in Artstor

Shared Shelf Commons logoArtstor has integrated Shared Shelf Commons into its search engine. From now on, a UD user searching “All Collections” in Artstor will find all relevant materials from the Artstor Digital Library (1.9 million images), UD’s local Shared Shelf collections (150,000 images), and Shared Shelf Commons (200,000 images).

Shared Shelf Commons is the free, open-access facet of Artstor, available to anyone worldwide, even without a subscription to Artstor. Shared Shelf subscribers like Cornell and UD have been publishing some of their collections to Shared Shelf Commons for several years now. Because of copyright restrictions, the Visual Resources Center’s images are not in Shared Shelf Commons, but many other UD collections are. These include, for instance, the UD Library’s own Franklin C. Daiber Botanical Collection, which was featured in a recent post in the Artstor Blog.

You will now find a list of “Shared Shelf Commons” collections at the center of the main Artstor search page, directly below the list of UD’s “Shared Shelf Institutional Collections” (which includes the VRC’s collection). Note that all of the UD collections listed here under Shared Shelf Commons also appear in the list of Institutional Collections. These particular collections (mostly from the UD Library) now essentially exist twice within the Artstor environment, which means that your search results will include duplicates of these images. It’s an unintended consequence of merging the two systems: the people at Artstor are aware of this little quirk, and will hopefully be fixing it in the near future.

Freer and Sackler Collections Online

Chinese (Western Zhou), Bronze Fitting in the Form of a Tiger, ca. 900 BCE, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington

Chinese (Western Zhou), Bronze Fitting in the Form of a Tiger, ca. 900 BCE, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington

The Freer and Sackler Galleries, the Smithsonian Institution’s museums of Asian art, released their entire digitized collections online on January 1, 2015. With the new Open F|S, you can now download high-resolution images of more than 40,000 works in the two museums, and you are permitted to use them for any non-commercial purpose.

The Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington are among the nation’s most important collections of Asian art, with a particular strength in the arts of China. In addition, they are home to works from ancient Egypt, the Islamic world, and the United States, including James McNeill Whistler’s famous Peacock Room at the Freer.

You can read the press release about Open F|S here.