ONLINE MUSEUM COLLECTIONS
Art Institute of Chicago
Offers access to over 33,000 works and basic information about works of art from all curatorial areas (African, American, Ancient and Byzantine, Architecture and Design, Arms, Armor, Medieval, and Renaissance, Asian, Contemporary, European Decorative Arts, European Painting and Sculpture, Indian Art of the Americans, Modern, Photography, Prints and Drawings, Textiles, and Thorne Miniature Rooms) of the collection.
British Museum Collection Database
Search over two million objects from the Paleolithic and Neolithic eras, Ancient Greece and Rome, European objects from the earliest times to the present day, objects from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, ancient and contemporary Middle East, Japanese, Korea, China, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, South and Southeast Asia from the Asian Neolithic period to the present. The database is growing with updates weekly.
Thousands of works from the Musée National d’Art Moderne, now one of the world’s leading collections of 20th century art, are available online. The online collection features almost 53,000 works, covering the whole range of creative arts, from painting to architecture, through photography, cinema, new media, sculpture and design. Search terms and descriptive data are in French.
Corcoran Gallery of Art (reopening late 2015)
“The Corcoran is renowned for its collection of 20th-century painting, sculpture and photography. In total, the Corcoran’s American holdings illuminate the nation’s history and artistic development from colonial times through the 20th century.” The online collection features highlights from American Art to 1945, Decorative Arts, European Art, Modern and Contemporary Art since 1945, and Photography and Media Arts.
Denver Art Museum
“Since its founding in 1893, the Denver Art Museum has amassed more than 68,000 works of art, one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of world art between Chicago and the West Coast.” The online collection features Western American Art, Textile Art, Spanish Colonial Art, Pre-Columbian Art, Photography, Oceanic Art, Modern & Contemporary Art, the Logan Collection, European and American Art, Asian Art, Architecture, Design, and Graphics, American Indian Art, and African Art.
The Frick Collection includes some of the best-known paintings by the greatest European artists, major works of sculpture, eighteenth-century French furniture and porcelains, Limoges enamels, Oriental rugs, and more. Online collection includes highlights from Paintings, Sculpture, Furniture, Porcelain, Works on Paper, Enamels, textiles, Clocks, Silver, and Gilt Bronzes.
Getty Museum (J. Paul Getty)
“The J. Paul Getty Museum and educational center is dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. The Villa houses approximately 44,000 works of art from the Museum’s extensive collection of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities, of which over 1,200 are on view.” Almost 8,000 works from the collection are available online. With the introduction of the Getty’s Open Content Program, roughly 4,600 high-resolution images of public domain works from the museum’s collection (accompanied by embedded metadata) are now free to use, modify, and publish for any purpose, with a goal to make available all images of public domain artworks in the Getty’s collections. Additionally, there are over 100 videos explore the Museum’s collection, artistic techniques, conservation, and exhibitions. Explore 3,325 artworks and take a virtual tour on GoogleArtProject.com.
Guggenheim Museum Collection Online
The site currently contains over 700 artworks by nearly 300 artists from the Guggenheim’s overall permanent collection of over 7,000 artworks. These highlights are designed to reflect the breadth, diversity, and tenor of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s extensive holdings from the late 19th century through the present day.
Hermitage Museum Digital Collection
“With over three million pieces of art representing many times and peoples, the State Hermitage has captured the essence of world culture. The online Collection Highlights provides a sample of the exquisite treasures that make up the Hermitage. From Paleolithic to contemporary, you can study some of the most extraordinary works of art in the world, including details about each piece represented here and histories of the civilizations that created them. Select from Prehistoric Art, Antiquity, Western European Art, the Arsenal, Oriental Art, Russian Culture, Numismatics, The Treasure Gallery, The Winter Palace of Peter I, The Menshikov Palace, General Staff Building, and The Museum of the Imperial Porcelain Factory. High resolution images from 12 different categories of works of art (painting, sculpture, jewelry, etc.), HotMedia images of selected halls and artworks, QBIC Search (Query By Image Content), and a “Zoom View.”
Kyoto National Museum Masterworks
“The Kyoto National Museum collects many artworks and cultural objects, holds exhibitions, and conducts fieldwork and research on East Asian art. Explore the best-known works owned by and in the custody of the Kyoto National Museum online.” Most of the works introduced here have multiple enlargements arranged so that you can explore works in depth.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
“The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided among nineteen curatorial departments. The Collections Database is a searchable database of artworks and related materials from the permanent collection of the Met. The Met’s Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History provides short introductions to periods, cultures, and geographical areas in the history of world art illustrated with works from the Met’s permanent collection.”
Museum of Modern Art, New York
“The Museum of Modern Art is dedicated to being the foremost museum of modern art in the world. The online collection offers over 30,000 works by nearly 6,000 artists.”
The Orsay collection consists mainly French art from 1848 to 1915. Its collection of impressionist and post-impressionist is the largest in world. While there is a search interface in English, the item records are in French.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
“The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles is home to one of the country’s finest collections of American and European art created since 1940. MOCA currently holds approximately 5,000 objects in all visual media, ranging from masterpieces of abstract expressionism and pop art to recent works by young and emerging artists.” The online collection offers a representative sample of MOCA’s permanent collection. Some images of works in the collection may not be available.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
“Today the MFA is one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world; the collection encompasses nearly 450,000 works of art from ancient Egyptian to contemporary.” The online collection offers nearly 350,000 images.
National Gallery (London)
“The National Gallery houses the British national collection of Western European painting from the 13th to the 19th centuries.” A complete list of paintings with images by each artist in the collection is available online.
National Gallery of Art
“The National Gallery of Art’s collection of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, medals, and decorative arts traces the development of Western Art from the Middle Ages to the present.” Searching images in the entire collection yields images that are not necessarily full-screen size. However, NGA Images provides more than 20,000 open access digital images from the collection, which are up to 3000 pixels each. They are available free of charge for download and unrestricted use.
“The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum in Amsterdam dedicated to arts, crafts, and history. The Rijksmuseum collection consists of over 1,000,000 items.” More than 200,000 of these are listed and described on the website, 30,000 of which are complete with an image. The collection is only accessible in Dutch.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
“San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art’s internationally recognized collection of modern and contemporary art includes more than 27,000 works and continues to grow. With strong holdings in photography, painting and sculpture, architecture and design, and media arts, SFMOMA strives to present key examples of Modernism as well as more recent works that reflect a variety of artistic developments occurring regionally, nationally, and around the world.” The online collection is divided between Painting and Sculpture, Photography, Architecture and Design, and Media Arts.
Featuring works from their 19 museums, which include the African Art Museum, the American History Museum, the American Indian Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Freer and Sackler Galleries, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the Portrait Gallery.
Smithsonian Institution SIRIS Image Gallery
“The SIRIS Image Gallery contains a sampling of visual records that are part of the Collections Search Center. The Image Gallery includes over 530,000 electronic images from several archival repositories and museums at the Smithsonian.” This includes the African Art Museum, the American History Museum, theAmerican Indian Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Freer and Sackler Galleries, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the Portrait Gallery.
“The national collection of British art from 1500 and of international modern art. Our collection includes nearly 70,000 artworks by over 3,000 artists and grows every year. Along with a significant selection from the Tate Collection, you can access nearly 2,500 artworks by Joseph Mallord William Turner from other collections through the Tate Collection online database. Together with Tate’s own holdings, these form the most comprehensive online catalogue of Turner’s work.”
Victoria and Albert Museum Collections
“The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects.” The online collection offers over 56,000 works and over 86,000 images from the V&A’s collections, including ceramics, fashion, furniture, glass, metalwork, paintings, photographs, prints, sculpture, and textiles.
Walker Art Center
“Our internationally acclaimed collection of modern and contemporary visual art, which grows each year through new acquisitions, includes more than 11,000 works. This site is a resource for all things related to the Walker’s collections, from information about on-site exhibitions and recent acquisitions to digital representations of our holdings.”
Walters Art Museum
“The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland is internationally renowned for its collection of art. The collection presents an overview of world art from pre-dynastic Egypt to 20th-century Europe, and counts among its many treasures Greek sculpture and Roman sarcophagi; medieval ivories and Old Master paintings; Art Nouveau jewelry and 19th-century European and American masterpieces.” Explore more than 10,000 items (about a third of the museum’s collection). Free downloads without copyright restrictions.