Open Access for 375,000 Works of Art

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"Indian Summer", William Trost Richards

Open Access for 375,000 Works of Art

Renowned for its comprehensive collection of work that captures “5,000 years of art spanning all cultures and time periods,” New York City’s world-famous Metropolitan Museum of Art has recently announced that 375,000 of its pieces in the public domain are now available without restrictions.

As an update to a similar 2014 initiative, the new policy, called OPEN ACCESS, allows individuals to easily access the images and use them for “any purpose, including commercial and noncommercial use, free of charge and without requiring permission from the Museum.” The available works represent a wide range of movements, styles, and mediums, and span iconic paintings by Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh to centuries-old costumes and armor.

The Met Museum has executed the new policy in collaboration with Creative Commons, a non-profit that aims to promote the legal sharing and distribution of information, ideas, and images through its free and easy-to-use copyright licenses. “Sharing is fundamental to how we promote discovery, innovation, and collaboration in the digital age,” said Ryan Merkley, the CEO of Creative Commons. “The Met has given the world a profound gift in service of its mission: the largest encyclopedic art museum in North America has eliminated the barriers that would otherwise prohibit access to its content, and invited the world to use, remix, and share their public-domain collections widely and without restriction.”

You can access the unrestricted images through the Met’s website. As you search its collection, all you need to do is check off the “Public Domain Artworks” option under “Show Only.”

We searched for “Rhode Island” and found quite a collection. Intriguing for its New England flavor was the work of William Trost Richards, who painted in meticulous factual renderings, and while associated with the Hudson School, he rejected romanticism and strove for realism - almost a photographic quality about his work.  He lived in Jamestown in his later years and died at the age of 72 in 1905 in Newport.

For all you graphic designers who want to grab a wonderful original work of art, there are 375,000 to entire you.


Richards’ Indian Summer really spoke to us of a time coming up very soon all-around New England.


Enjoy searching and sharing the works of so many wonderful fine artists: