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 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.
Frederic Edwin Church, Niagara, 1857, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
The 140-year history of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC appears to be coming to an end (at least, its history as an independent institution). According to a plan announced this week, the National Gallery of Art will assume responsibility for its renowned art collection and George Washington University will take over its art school and landmark building. Many of the Corcoran’s treasures will become part of the National Gallery of Art’s own collection, while the rest of its 17,000 objects will be dispersed to other museums. Long an institution with serious financial troubles, the Corcoran had previously been considering a merger with the University of Maryland.
You can read more about the Corcoran’s future here.
Johannes Vermeer, Girl with the Red Hat, ca. 1665-1666 (photo: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington)
BIG NEWS! The National Gallery of Art in Washington has just launched the NGA Images website. There you can download any of their images of works in the public domain (which means almost all of their pre-1900 art). You can read the full press release here.
The images that you can download are 1200 pixels on their long dimension, which is perfect for use in Powerpoint or OIV (see an example here). In addition, if you register on the site, you also get access to 2000-pixel and 3000-pixel images, which are suitable for scholarly publications. And it’s all free of charge!
But what makes this site truly remarkable is that you’re also free to use any of the images you download for any purpose you want, without even having to seek the museum’s permission. It’s all part of the National Gallery of Art’s Open Access policy. This follows the recent news that Yale University and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art would similarly open their image collections for unrestricted public use. The stature of the National Gallery of Art’s collection makes this an even bigger announcement . . . and another important milestone on the road towards greater public access to online image collections.
A few more art-related items in the recent headlines:
An obituary for Cy Twombly, 1928-2011. The American artist, best known for making paintings that look like blackboard scribbles, died on July 5th at age 83.
An architectural review of Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House in China.
An article on Samuel F. B. Morse’s Gallery of the Louvre. The painting, currently on view at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, is one subject in David McCullough’s new book, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris.