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.” You can also browse the selected works by selecting the “Metropolitan Museum of Art” filter on the Creative Commons site.