General Art History Image Resources
Follow the links to visit each page. Scroll to the bottom of this page for more text- and research-based resources.
Museum with one of the largest art and archaeology collections in the UK, now with more than 2 million hi-res images available for free under Creative Commons licensing. Its collections span all regions, time periods, genres and media
Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)
Aggregated collection of archival materials from libraries across the country. Specializes in photographs, primary documents, drawings, prints and other works on paper. Users can discover media by map, timeline, subject, or search terms.
Google Cultural Institute
Google has partnered with museums, cultural institutions, and archives to make the world’s cultural wonders available online. Includes special collections for artworks, virtual museum tours, natural and architectural wonders, and photographic archives, all with zoom-to-the-brush-stroke resolution images and a wealth of historical background information
Harvard Art Museums
Digital collection of the objects in the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Sackler Museums. Includes artworks, archaeological objects, and historical documents spanning centuries and cultures. Hi-res images are available by request for study or personal use
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Works in the public domain are available for hi-res downloads, and other works are available for purchase when used in scholarly publications. Also a great discovery source for modern/contemporary art
Aggregator of public domain museum images with an emphasis on early photography. Hi-res downloads aren’t always available, but generally link back to the museum from which they were acquired. Images can be browsed by artist, nation of origin, theme, or media
Princeton University Art Museum
Broad collection of works spanning many time periods and regions. Hi-res images are available for download for personal or educational non-commercial use. Works for publication must have permission from the museum or copyright holder
Smithsonian Collections Search Center
Specialized databases spanning the entire Smithsonian Institution’s network of museums, with 9.9 million catalog records related to Art, Design, History, Culture, Science, and Technology. Includes images, videos, audio files, podcasts and blogs
Visual Arts Data Service (VADS)
Database compiling works from participating museums in Britain, providing an emphasis on resources for art education. Most works have low-res images and comprehensive metadata
Crowd-source photographs and images of art, architecture, nature, and archival objects, all under fair use or creative commons licensing. Image quality varies, but the collection continues to grow from its wide user base. Especially useful for images of architecture and public monuments.
Image Index of Art and Architecture
Also known as Bildindex der Kunst und Architektur, this German repository houses over 2 million images of architecture and fine art from partners across Europe. A translating browser such as Chrome is recommended, as the entire website is in German
Creative Commons/Public domain images hosted by Luna of collections from participating institutions including Pratt Institute, Bard College, and Folger Shakespeare library. Content includes a focus on historical photos, drawings and documents
National Gallery of Art
NGA’s open content program is now providing 45,000 hi-res images for any use, including scholarly, personal, and commercial. Browse by collection or search by specific criteria. Works not in the open content program are available by request through the museum’s regular online collection
World-class collection of artworks focusing on European painting and drawing, with hi-res downloads and built-in zoom and free editing software in the RijksStudio.
University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Extensive collections of images provided by UW including artist books, archeological objects, archives of primary historical documents, and scientific visuals
Web Gallery of Art
Online database and “virtual museum” with an emphasis on European works between 1400-1800, particularly Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance art. Most works are in the public domain and have hi-resolution images
Digital collection of works maintained by the California State University system, including many cultural artifacts from worldwide. Images are licensed under creative commons copyright, meaning they can be used for any purposes as long as they are credited.
J. Paul Getty Museum
Thousands of hi-res downloads available through Getty’s open content program. Works include art, archaeology, and historical objects spanning many different periods and cultures, searchable by keywords or themes
Metropolitan Museum of Art
One of the largest collections in the country, all the Met’s public domain holdings are (or will be) available for hi-res download for scholarly or personal use, license- and cost- free. Licensed/copyrighted images are available through their IAP program
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia Museum’s ART 24/7 initiative involves making high quality photos and detailed records available through their online catalog of over 200,000 items. The site also includes audio, video, and other digital assets for education
Shared Shelf Commons
Commons images are provided by ArtStor and partner organizations that fall in the public domain or fair use exemption. Includes special collections from universities such as Cornell, Yale, and RISD
Victoria and Albert Museum
500,000 images available from the museum’s collections, many of which provide free hi-res downloads for scholarly and non-commerical purposes. The site also provides informative articles and background on works
WikiArt: Visual Art Encyclopedia
Crowd-sourced wiki repository of works covering a broad span of time, with a focus on painting and drawing. Works in public domain have hi-res downloads available, modern and contemporary works have smaller images
Yale University Digital Collections
Database that searches across 1,500,000 records at the university’s museums, including the Peabody Museum of Natural History, Center for British Art, and the University Art Gallery. Extremely hi-res zooming is available within the website, and large downloads are available for works in the public domain.
World Digital Library
Project initiated by the Library of Congress in collaboration with many national libraries to digitize primary documents, manuscripts, and historical objects. Many items have high resolution downloads and extensive background information.
General Art History Research and Educational Resources
Art History Resources on the Web
Index of online resources compiled by art historian Dr. Christopher Witcombe. Subjects are organized chronologically and geographically and link out to reputable organizations such as the Smithsonian Institutions and Metropolitan Museum.
Metropolitan Museum's Timeline of Art History
Pairs essays and artworks with chronologies to tell the story and art and global culture through the Museum's collections. Each referenced object links to its own extensively researched catalog page.
Comprehensive online multimedia guide to art history provided by Khan Academy in collaboration with several major museums. It covers basic concepts of art movements, theories, and chronology through videos, essays, and other unique offerings.