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Art and Architecture Images

Tips and Lists:

George Cruikshank. "Life in London, plate 30, A Shilling Well Laid Out." engraving, 1820s.
Chronicle of Higher Education blog: Find Free Images Quickly with Compfight. Guide to online service that helps you to search Flickr efficiently for Creative-Commons licensed photos.

Hey Jude: Learning in an Online World: Find Free Images Online. Links to many resources plus tips and advice on using images on the web.

Image Providers:

Free Sources:

American Council for Southern Asian Art (ACSAA). Images of art and architecture from Southeast and South Asia, the Himalayan region and Indonesia. After creating a free account, low-res images suitable for PowerPoint presentations may be downloaded FREELY for educational purposes.

Ancient World Image Bank. Images contributed by the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University, may be used FREELY with proper citation under Creative Commons license.

Art Images for College Teaching. Images taken or collected by art historian Allan T. Kohl. Copyright either belongs to Kohl or is in the public domain. Images may be used FREELY for teaching purposes. Particularly helpful for ancient and medieval art.

Art Institute of Chicago. Public domain images now FREELY downloadable as jpegs for any purpose or zoomable on the site.

Artsy. More than 25,000 images are FREELY available for download. Images are public domain or have already been offered for free access on the web. Covers all areas of art.

Barnes Foundation Collection Online. Those works in the public domain may be FREELY downloaded.

British Library Illustrations digitized from 17th, 18th, and 19th century books. On Flickr Commons for "anyone to reuse, remix, or repurpose." FREELY available. Includes albums on various topics such as advertisements, children's books, and women of the world.

Calisphere: Digital collection of images relating to California, including architecture, art, historical photographs, etc. from California institutions. May be used FREELY for educational purposes, obtain permission for publication and other uses.

CARLI Digital Collections.  Repository for digital content created by member libraries of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois. Each collection has its own licensing requirements. Check the record for the image you want to download. Many are FREE to use.

Chartres: Cathedral of Notre-Dame. Images FREELY available for educational purposes. 

Chicago Architecture Data. "Photos and information on thousands of buildings, categorized by style and community area." Photos not not sourced from the Cook County Assessor are licensed under Creative Commons and may be used FREELY with credit and link to site.

Cleveland Museum of Art Online Collection. Public domain images are now FREELY available in high resolution for both commercial and non-commercial uses. Images still under copyright are available online for study purposes and metadata only may be downloaded.

Clyfford Still Museum Online Collection. Images on website may be FREELY downloaded for educational/personal use. For higher res images, contact site. Fees may apply.

Cornell University Collection of Political Americana. Images from the Susan H. Douglas Collection of American campaign memorabilia from 1789 to 1960. May be used FREELY for "private study, scholarship or research" but permission must be obtained for any other uses.

Corpus of Medieval Narrative Art. Created by Dr. Stuart Watling. Repository of his own photography of medieval sites. Images may be FREELY used for scholarly lectures. Higher resolution images for publication may be obtained by contacting Dr. Watling.

Currier Museum of Art CollectionsAmerican and European art. Most are available online and many are zoomable. Images are FREELY available for educational and non-commercial uses. Commercial or publication uses must obtain permission.

Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek: Kultur und Wissen Online. Includes over 23 millions objects with over 9 million digitized media. Rights vary but some are FREELY available.

Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture: Emphasis on but not limited to early America. Image resources and digitized books, including botanical and zoological illustration, ceramics, and more. Images may be used FREELY for educational purposes. For other uses, contact the University of Wisconsin Library.

Digital Public Library of America. Platform that collates images and other material from libraries, archives, and museums in the United States. Rights to image use will vary by institution. Some will be made FREELY available.

Digital Scriptorium: Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts from many institutions. Images may be used FREELY for educational purposes. For other uses, contact the contributing institution.

Eastman Museum Collections Online. Photographs, objects, and other material related to the history of photography. Images must be licensed by filling out a form. Unclear if there is a fee involved.

Europeana: "Explore Europe's Cultural Collections."  Limiter at left allows one to search for images that can be FREELY reused.

Five Colleges and Historic Deerfield Museum Consortium Collections Database. Consortium of college museums in western Massachusetts. Images may be used FREELY for educational purposes. Contact individual collections for other uses.

Flickr Creative Commons. Can be an excellent resource of high quality architectural and sculptural images. Rights vary depending upon the photographer.

Flickr: Internet Archive Book Images. Illustrations from public domain books. FREELY available.
Fondation Jacques-Edouard Berger - World Art Treasures. Berger was a curator of the Museum of Fine Arts in Lausanne who brought back over 100,000 pictures from his world travels. They appear to be FREELY downloadable  for teaching and research.

Freeimages. "The leading source of FREE stock photos."

French Revolution Digital Archive: Collaboration of Stanford University Libraries and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Images may be FREELY used for non-commercial purposes with attribution. Commercial use may be licensed for a fee.

Getty Images. Commercial site of stock photography. As of March 2014, images will be available for FREE if used in an open-embed program that gives credit to the source. Not to be confused with the Getty Museum and Institute.

Getty Museum Open Content Program. High resolution images of works from the Getty that are in the public domain and may be used FREELY. Recent additions include Max Hutzel Photographs of Art and Architecture in Italy and 15th through 18th century tapestries.

Getty Museum Portal at the Digital Public Library of America. Includes images, books, and more. Public domain images may be used FREELY.

GIGI: Digital Image Archive of the American Antiquarian Society. Medium resolution images of works in the public domain may be downloaded FREE of charge. You must contact the Society to obtain high resolution images for publication.

Google Arts & Culture. "Features content from over 1200 leading museums and archives who have partnered with the Google Cultural Institute to bring the world's treasures online." Rights will vary by source.

Great Buildings Collection: Good source for plans and 3D models of well-known buildings.

Historic Illustrations of Art and Architecture :Public domain images available for FREE downloads. Good for plans and architectural drawings.

The Icons of Sinai. Full color images from the Monastery of Saint Catherine, on Princeton University site, FREELY available for educational purposes. Contact site for publishing permissions and larger resolution images.

Images for Academic Publishing (IAP).  Available through ARTstor and initiated by the Metropolitan Museum. Provides scholars with FREE high quality images for academic publications. A number of additional museums and resources are currently in the process of adding images to the collection. Users without access to ARTstor may still request access to the IAP collection.

Imperial War Museum, London: Many images may be FREELY downloaded. You must check the individual image's rights as listed on the website.

John J. Audubon's Birds of America. Audubon Society site offering FREE high resolution images of the prints from this work.

John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera at the Bodleian Libraries. British history through graphic arts, strongest in 18th-20th century materials. Reproduction in academic journals is FREE but permission MUST be obtained first.

JSTOR Forum (formerly Artstor Shared Shelf Commons). FREE open access collections, most from educational institutions. Covers a wide range of topics, including art, history, and science. Browse here by COLLECTION NAME.

JSTOR Forum (formerly Artstor Shared Shelf Commons.) FREE open access collections, most from educational institutions. Covers a wide range of topics, including art, history, and science. Browse here by TYPE OF COLLECTION. 

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Works from the collection, many of which are in the public domain and thus FREELY downloadable. Please see individual works for further rights info.

LIFE Photo Archive. Millions of historic photographs from the magazine, most never published. FREELY available although site states that images may be subject to copyright. Proceed with caution.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. LACMA now allows the FREE download without restriction of high resolution images believed to be in the public domain. Free images contain a link that says "Download Image." Images with copyright protection contain the link "Order photography" instead.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Image Resources.   The museum has contributed a selection of images to the Images for Academic Publishing program hosted by ARTstor. These images may be used for FREE for scholarly publications. Available at Brown through ARTstor or directly from the museum. Public domain images now FREELY available as well from the website for scholarly purposes, under the section Open Access for Scholarly Content icon [OASC].

Morgue File. FREE images to use with credit to photographers.

Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Artworks and material culture of indigenous peoples worldwide. Many FREE to use under Creative Commons license.

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Over 30,000 images from collections available for FREE high resolution download, either under Creative Commons license or under no restrictions at all (depends on the image).

Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo. Over 30,000 works from the Norwegian National Museum available for FREE download. Contemporary works require permission. Download resolution is decent but not high.

National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC Image Collections. More than 20,000 images from the museum collections now FREE for scholarly AND commercial publication.

National Palace Museum. The museum in Taiwan has digitized over 70,000 images and are making them FREELY available. Although there is an English search interface, the records appear to be available only in Chinese.

National Portrait Gallery, UK: "The National Portrait Gallery now provides free downloads of a large range of images from its Collection for academic and non-commercial projects through a new web-site facility. Over 53,000 low-resolution images will now be available FREE of charge to non-commercial users through a standard 'Creative Common' license and over 87,000 high-resolution images will also be available FREE of charge for academic uses through the Gallery's own licences."

Netherlands Institute in Istanbul Machiel Kiel Photographic Archive. Pertaining mainly to Ottoman architecture of the Balkans, photographed from the 1960s to 1990s. Images may be used FREELY in publications with proper credit given. Higher resolution images may be obtained by writing to the archive.

Newberry Library Digital Collections. Images may be downloaded and used for educational purposes FREELY without fees or permissions. Not all material on the site is accessible, however, and the interface makes it difficult to just find the image collections.

New Old Stock. "Vintage photographs from the public archives, FREE of known copyright restrictions." Images come from many institutions and websites.

New York Public Library Digital Gallery. Free and open access to over 800,000 images from the library collections.

New York Public Library Digital Collections: Map Division. 20,000 historical maps in the public domain, digitized in high resolution and available for FREE download for any purpose.

New York Public Library Digital Collections Online. Includes book illustrations, photographs, prints, and more. Public domain images are FREE to use in high resolution downloads.

Open F/S. The complete digitized collections of the Freer and Sackler Galleries and the Freer Study Collection. Images may be used FREELY for all non-commercial purposes.

OpenGLAM. Directory of open access image collections online. In other words, FREE images.

Peregrinations: architectural photographs related to pilgrimage. Copyright-free for academic publication.

Photo Roma: site with thousands of photos of Rome and other Italian cities, free to use for non-commercial purposes. Authorization requested for commercial use. 

Photogrammar: 170,000 photographs taken by the U. S. Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information from 1935 to 1945. Most but not necessarily all are in the public domain and FREELY available.

Picture Gateway to the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council's archive of photos on Flickr. Photos may be used FREELY with attribution.

Pitts Theology Library Digital Image Archive. More than 47,000 public domain images of religious topics, many from the Kessler Reformation Collection. FREELY available for educational and non-commercial uses. A small fee applies for publication.

ProvLibDigital . Compiled from eight collections, includes 5000 images of Rhode Island history, including architecture and postcards, which may be FREELY downloaded.

Public Domain Archive. "Vintage and modern public domain images." FREELY available.

Public Domain Images Online. Compilation of FREELY available, public domain images from across the web, covering a wide range of subject areas.

Public Domain Photos. Repository of FREE public domain images.

The Public Domain Project. Thousands of media files that may be downloaded FREELY. Includes film, audio, still images and 3D models.

Public Domain Review. Links to eclectic collections of FREE public domain images. The blog is fascinating, too.

Rijksmuseum API Collectie.  "Basic collection" of over 103,000 records with high resolution scans downloadable under Creative Commons license.

Rijksmuseum Rijksstudio:  "Rijksmuseum makes its digital collection of 125,000 masterpieces FREE to all."

Rotman Collection of Vintage Stereographs of India. Smith College collection of stereoscopic views of India taken between 1819 and 1900. Images appropriate for classroom projection may be downloaded FREELY.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps at the Library of Congress. Searchable database of over 18,000 items. FREELY downloadable as tiffs and zoomable on screen.

Shared Shelf Commons. Free, open-access library of images from libraries, archives, and museums worldwide. Rights will vary by institution. Some will be FREELY available. Uses the ARTstor platform but you don't need to be an ARTstor subscriber to access these images.

Shorpy: Fascinating blog about historical photographs with fantastic, high resolution images. Selected smaller size images may be downloaded for non-commercial use. Large size tiffs may be purchased for commercial use.
Smith College Historic Clothing Collection in Luna Insight. Images appropriate for classroom projection may be freely downloaded.

Smithsonian Institution Collections Online. Images may be used FREELY for non-commercial purposes. Includes works within the broad categories of Art & Design, History & Culture, and Science & Technology.
Teach the Web: Using Museum Images - Open and Closed: Blog entry discussing a number of museums that offer images with varying degrees of rights attached. Many are FREELY available.

Turkish Cultural Foundation.  Image archive of Turkish art FREELY accessible for educational purposes. 

UbuWeb. Site dedicated to the Avant-Garde, offering FREE downloads of films, videos and much more.

United States National Archives. Historical photograph images on Flickr Commons page are in the public domain and may be FREELY used.

Unsplash "FREE (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos stock photos. 10 new photos every 10 days."

United States Department of Agriculture Image Gallery. Photographic copyright free images, may be FREELY used.

Van Gogh Museum Japanese Prints. FREELY downloadable as jpegs for non-commercial purposes.

Van Gogh Museum Works of Vincent Van GoghFREELY downloadable as jpegs for non-commercial purposes.

Veezzle. Source for FREE stock photos across multiple sites.

Visual Resources Association: Flickr page. "Photographs taken by members of the VRA community who are interested in sharing images for educational purposes."

Walters Art Museum Images on Wikimedia Commons. More than 19,000 images from the museum collection, FREELY available with unrestricted use.

Walters Art Museum: New Eyes on American Art. American art newly digitized and FREELY available with unrestricted use.

Wikimedia Commons. FREELY available images, including such resources as the United States National Archives. Licensing varies according to rights owner.

Yale Center for British Art.  Public domain works available FREELY in high resolution files. May be used for any application without obtaining permission.

Yale Collections.  Searches across Yale's collections of art, natural history, books, maps, photos, audio and visual. Many are FREELY available for educational purposes. See copyright information on website.

Yorck Project on Wikimedia: Collection of art files available for FREE download. The site claims all images are in the public domain. Quality will vary.         

York Museums Trust online collections. Includes records for works that include and do not include images. Reproduction information included. Many are in the public domain and may be FREELY used.          

Commercial Sources:

Africa Media Online. Commercial site based in South Africa. They sell publication rights to African photos, audio files and text produced by African journalists.

Agence Photographique: Réunion des Musées Nationaux de France.  Works of art from French museums. Although there is an English version, searches work best in French.        
AKG Images: Arts and history picture library, located in London. Commercial vendor. Over 10 million images available.

American Museum of Natural History. Digitized Special Collections material. High res images may be purchased. Must be licensed for reproduction.
American School in Rome Photo Archive. Images may be licensed and purchased for publication.

Araldo de Luca. High resolution commercial images of art, mainly European and ancient western world.

Archaeological World in Roman & Greek Period. Photographic archive of archaeological sites. Images and videos for sale.

Archivision. Commercial vendor of high quality images of worldwide architecture, landscape architecture, public art and design. Royalty-free images available.

Art Resource. Commercial vendor of high quality fine art images from American and European museums.

Arthistoricum Image Resources. Selected German image collections, including architectural drawings, GDR furniture design, caricatures, miniatures from the Biblioteca Palatina, photography and more. Site allows some English searching but most of the information is in German. Images must be purchased.

Arts of the United States. Contains over 4000 images important to the history of art in the US. Images may be licensed for publication and they have been generous towards academic publications in the past. The photography was executed in the mid 20th century.

Artstor (available to Brown users only). Collection of over one million images obtained from museums, scholars, and vendors, and covering the arts and social sciences. Most require further inquiry to obtain publication rights. See also Images for Academic Publishing.

Asian Historical Architecture. Collection of digital photographs from many different contributors. Rights may be negotiated with individuals.

Baileys African History Archive. Commercial site, holds the archives of forty years of material from Drum Magazine and its sister publications.

Bibliotheque National de France Banque d'Images: More than 150,000 images from the French national library. Site is in French. Images must be licensed.

Bildindex der Kunst und Architektur: Bildarchiv Foto Marburg. Images from the Marburger Index. In German.

Bridgeman Education. Commercial vendor of art images for educational use. They will also work with you to try and track down the availability of specific images.

Bridgeman Footage Platform. Commercial vendor of art images also now makes available "cultural footage from around the world" for licensing.

Bridgeman Images. Commercial vendor that works with museums, galleries, collection and artists to provide art images for reproduction purposes. They now have an agreement with the Italian Ministry of Culture to cover all 439 Italian state-owned museums for image licensing.

British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts. Complete catalog records and spectacular images which can be freely downloaded at a high resolution.

British Museum Images. Charges licensing fees for commercial and publication uses. 

Chester Beatty Library Image Gallery. Charges licensing fees for publication and reproduction.

Collage: London Picture Archive. From the collections of the London Metropolitan Archives and Guildhall Art Gallery.

Country Life Picture Library: Images of British country houses, gardens, and interiors, along with other architecture. Low resolution, watermarked images may be downloaded, higher resolution images must be purchased.

Davis Art Images. Image sets available for K-12 and college teaching. Individual images may also be purchased. Art and architecture worldwide covered.

Digital Images Collection Guide. Crowd-sourced collection of "exemplar image collections," curated by Scott Spicer and maintained on the ALA Connect website. Lots here!

Emporis: "Locate buildings in every country around the world." Many of the buildings include images which may be purchased.

Esto Photographics: "Images of Architecture and the Built Environment." Vendor of high quality architectural photographs by well-known photographers. Especially good source for 20th century modernism.

FotoSearch: Stock photography and footage  commercial site. Images must be purchased. Includes royalty-free images.

Heritage Images. "The premier source of cultural, historical and fine art images." Commercial site, images must be purchased. Includes interesting images of cultural heritage.

Image Minders: The Image Consulting Cooperative: "members work with cultural organizations, academic institutions, and private scholars or image collectors who want to share their analog or digital image collections."

ImageNet: "An image database organized according to the WorldNet hierarchy in which each node of the hierarchy is depicted by hundreds and thousands of images."

Inter-American Institute for Advanced Studies in Cultural History.  Large database of worldwide architectural images taken by Dr. James Bartholomay Kiracofe, available for licencing.

Irish Photo Archive. Irish historical photographs and documents, available for licensing.

Landslides. Vendor of aerial photography. Many types of photographs available depicting landscapes, cities, and topics such as suburbs, edge cities and New Urbanism.

Masters of Architecture. Commercial vendor of digitized slide sets from Pidgeon Audiovisual and World Microfilms. Includes mostly Europe, the United States, Australia and Japan.

Motco UK Directory and Image Database: Antique Maps, Prints & Books. CDs of the "Great Maps of London" for sale as well as reproductions.

Moteur Collections. Images of French architecture. Site in French.

National Trust Images: "inspirational photography to best show the diversity and historical range of places in the National Trust's care." Low resolution images may be downloaded. Higher resolutions must be purchased.

New York City Municipal Archives Online Gallery. Free and open access to over 800,000 images from the city archives, including photos, maps, motion pictures and audio recordings. Prints may be purchased. Permission must be obtained and licensing fees paid for publication.

Pidgeon Digital. Illustrated talks by architects and related designers available by subscription. 

Prado Image Bank and Print on Demand. High resolution images can be purchased, fees vary but they are not inexpensive.

Prometheus. Subscription based collection of "high-quality digitized images from the fields of arts, culture, and history." Connects 71 mostly German institutions. Trial subscriptions avaialable.

Rembrandt Prints Online. 500 images from the Morgan Library's collection of Rembrandt etchings. For high resolution images, patrons must contact the Library.

Ritmeyer Archaeological Design. commercial images related to  Biblical Archaeology.

Robert Rauschenberg Research Project. Research site for Robert Rauschenberg works in SFMOMA collection. Includes downloadable images for educational use. Licensing fees and permissions are needed for publication and reproduction.

Royal Academy of Arts Collections (UK). Permission must be obtained to reproduce images.

Royal Collection Online Picture Library, UK. Fill out online applications for permission to reproduce.

Scala Archives. High resolution commercial images of art, history and the performing arts, particularly relating to Europe.

Scholars Resource. Commercial distributor of high quality art and architecture images from a number of vendors. Images may be purchased for teaching or publication. Brown professors may request that images be purchased for the Instructional Image Collection.

Science & Society Picture Library: Visual Collections of the Science Museum, Media Museum and Railway Museum, UK.

Tate Gallery Images E-Commerce site: Use to download and purchase images.

Textile Hive. Subscription database of over 40,000 textiles. One must pay a membership fee to access the collection.

Whitney Museum of Art Collection. Permission form must be filled out in order to request rights to use images.

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. Images of works in the collection, including all kinds of material culture and crafts. Downloadable. Contact museum for further licensing and rights information.