Copyright Free Museum Images

Millions of Images from Museum Art Collections are Now Available

The treasures of the art world are contained in the collections of museums around the world.  Most of these images are in public domain.  Until recently, these museums limited access to these high resolution images.  To use them, you needed to license them which was often a long and expensive process. 

Copyright Free Museum Images

Paul Gauguin “Arlésiennes (Mistral)” 1888 The Art Institute of Chicago

Now, these images are available on line for free. 

You can now download to use in your documentary films, proposals, and books.

We’ve collected links for you to access these images.  Please make sure the policies for each of these institutions for downloading and attribution when using these incredible free resources.

Smithsonian Institute    2.8 million high-resolution images from across its collections that anyone can view, download, and reuse free of charge.  Gathered from all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo. 

Paris Museums   150,000 digital reproductions in High Definition of works in the City’s museums.  14 municipal museums of Paris, including the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Petit Palais, and the Catacombs. Users can download a file that contains a high definition (300 DPI) image, a document with details about the selected work, and a guide of best practices for using and citing the sources of the image.

The British Museum      1.9 million images for noncommercial purposes and with correct attribution.

The Art Institute of Chicago    The Art Institute of Chicago is pleased to offer free, unrestricted use of over 50,000 images of works in the collection believed to be in the public domain or to which the museum otherwise waives any copyright it might have.

Cleveland Museum of Art    30,000 public-domain artworks from the CMA’s world-renowned collection can be accessed—all without asking permission. In addition, portions of collections information (metadata) for more than 61,000 artworks, both in the public domain and those works with copyright or other restrictions, are now available.

J. Paul Getty Museum    There are roughly 4,600 images from the J. Paul Getty Museum available in high resolution on the Getty’s website for use without restriction—representing 4,689 objects (some images show more than one object), including paintings, drawings, manuscripts, photographs, antiquities and sculpture and decorative arts. The Getty plans to add other images, until eventually all applicable Getty-owned or public domain images are available, without restrictions, online. 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art    The digital collections provide access to more than 53,000 images of artworks with more than 20,000 that LACMA believes to be in the public domain. Users can search and filter the results by artist, classification, curatorial area, periods and location.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art     Explore more than 406,000 hi-res images of public-domain works from the The Met collection, all of which can be downloaded, shared, and remixed without restriction.

The National Gallery of Art    NGA Images is a repository of digital images of the collections of the National Gallery of Art. On this website you can search, browse, share, and download images. A standards-based reproduction guide and a help section provide advice for both novices and experts. More than 53,000 open access digital images up to 4000 pixels on the long dimension are available free of charge for download and use. NGA Images is designed to facilitate learning, enrichment, enjoyment, and exploration.

Yale University Art Gallery    Thousands of images of works in the Gallery’s collection believed to be in the public domain are available for free download through the Gallery’s website. Under Yale University’s Open Access Policy, anyone may use the Gallery’s open-access material without further application, authorization, or fees due to the Gallery or to Yale.