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A selection of websites and databases relevant to the History of Art. Please check individual sites for terms and conditions regarding copyright and use of images. Some sites allow you to freely download images for educational use, whilst others are simply for viewing the material.
Please see the Art & Architecture LibGuide for extensive lists of collections and databases relevant to the History of Art.
ARTstor is one of the largest image resources for education in the world with over 1.6 million high quality images of visual culture. You can save your own collections of images as well as email images as a PowerPoint presentation.
Art UK works with public art collections in the UK to digitise artworks, these often include works that are not on public display. There are over 200,000 works from universities, museums, town halls and hospitals. In summer 2017 Art UK is starting an ambitious project to photograph 170,000 sculptures from the nation's sculpture collections. The first images will appear online in early 2018.
Over 1.2 million images from museums, galleries, private collections and contemporary artists. You can select images to be emailed as a PDF document which also includes item record information. Or create a collection with a URL that can be sent out.
Database of Modern Exhibitions
Still in BETA form DoME contains information extracted from exhibition catalogues covering Europe between 1905-1915. Offering different visualization tools the dataset includes more than 1,000 exhibitions, and 150,000 artworks from 11,900 artists.
The Bodleian Libraries have extraordinary Special Collections, including manuscripts, early books, maps, book illustrations, paintings and miscellaneous archives and ephemera. Digitised material is regularly added to Digital Bodleian.
DigiVatLib (Digital Vatican Library)
The Vatican Library has published 15,000 manu-scripts online. Some of their oldest and most im-portant documents can be viewed, allowing non-experts the opportunity to access them. DigiVatLab also features incunabula, inventories, graphic and other printed material, coins and medals.
More than 3,000 institutions across Europe have contributed to Europeana. These range from major international names like the Rijksmuseum, the British Library and the Louvre to regional archives and local museums from every member of the European Union. The digital platform holds metadata related to an object, if you want access to the full content you can click the link to the original site that holds the information.
HEIR (Historic Environment Image Resource)
HEIR contains digitised historic photographic images from all over the world dating from the late nineteenth century onwards. HEIR’s core images come from lantern slide and glass plate negatives held in college, library, museum and departmental collections within the University of Oxford. New resources are being added all the time, including collections from outside the University.
Historical Photographs of China
The project locates, digitises, and publishes online photographs of China held, largely, in private hands outside the country. Although there are some sets of material from institutional repositories, the principal sources of materials are families living outside China who have historical connections with it. The project aim is to help make this virtual photographic archive of modern China publicaly available, without cost, and with limited restriction on use for non-commercial purposes.
Historic England, England's Places: Architectural Red Box Collection
Historic England (formerly English Heritage) has digitised its Architectural Red Box Collection. Started in 1941 to document England's built heritage, the core collection came from records collected by the Courtauld in the 1930s. In the coming years the collection was built up with commercial and amateur photographs. The earliest material dates to the 1850s and continues to the 1990s when they stopped acquiring material. Subjects include churches, country houses, historic buildings and buildings threatened with destruction during the mid 20th century.
J. Paul Getty Museum
Through the Open Content Program, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute provide access to more than 100,000 images from their collections.
Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut
Founded in 1897 on the private initiative of a group of independent scholars, the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz has been under the auspices of the Max Planck Society since 2002. For over a century the Photo library has been collecting photographic reproductions predominantly of Italian art from late Antiquity to the modern era. The Kunsthistorisches Institut is largely interested in the use of photography in Art History, photo archives and the materiality of photographs. This website includes information on the Institut's research projects, exhibitions and a digital photo library.
Luminous-Lint has been constructed collaboratively over the last decade to share information on the history of photography worldwide. Over 2,950 people, estates and institutions have provided information. It offers interesting and thought provoking ways to search photographs through visual indexes.
The Met has released 375,000 Creative Commons images of Public Domain works from their vast collections. These can be searched by Public Domain.
The Metropolitan Museum Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History pairs essays and works of art with chronologies, telling the story of art and global culture through the Museum’s collection.
MoMA Exhibition Database
The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) has released an online archive of over 3,500 of the museum’s past exhibitions from its founding in 1929 to today. Free and available to the public, the database contains photographs, press releases, checklists, catalogues and lists of featured artists.
The Rijksmuseum offers 150,000 high resolution images of works in their collections as Creative Commons images which are free to use.
Uffizi Gallery Sculpture Collection
Over 300 ancient sculptures and fragments from the Uffizi Gallery have been 3D scanned in collaboration with Indiana University.
VADS (Visual Arts Data Service)
VADS (the Visual Arts Data Service) has provided services to the academic community for 20 years and has built up a considerable portfolio of visual art collections comprising over 140,000 images that are freely available and copyright cleared for use in learning, teaching and research in the UK. VADS is a service of the Centre for Digital Scholarship in the Library & Student Services department of the University for the Creative Arts.
William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonne
The Catalogue seeks to put the entire corpus of the more than 25,000 surviving Talbot negatives and prints online. Create a login to save favourites and to compare images.