Free Picassos and Rembrandts from the Met.

Museums are starting to put their collections online in high res digital form. Better yet, they’re allowing downloads free to anyone or group who’d like to use them in a non-commercial manner. This is great news for those of us who do non-profit work or create educational materials of any kind.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s 10 largest art museums. Its huge collection is one of the most impressive anywhere. Approximately 400,000 pieces from them are now available free for non-commercial use. Search beautiful images from photographer Alfred Stieglitz to Manet’s paintings. Just go to the Met’s Collection Online drop down menu to get started.

The new Open Access for Scholarly Content initiative is behind this largess. Under it’s guidelines, art that a museum believes is in the public domain is made available for free and can be directly downloaded without permission. However, the Met does need to be credited (see the guidelines link). They’re hoping to increase access and help educators, curators, researchers documentary filmmakers and anyone involved in scholarly work.

(The site has become so popular that it quickly crashed so be patient if you aren’t able to get the images you want immediately.)

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