Here’s a Valentine’s Day gift for art and history lovers everywhere: the Metropolitan Museum of Art has made high-resolution digital images of more than 375,000 of its artworks, sculptures, and historical objects available to anyone who wants them.
Visitors to the met museum.org website can browse any of the museum’s collections and download images that they are free to keep or use as they like, at no cost, through an open source license called Creative Commons Zero (CC0).
Not all artworks are in the public domain, and the museum has many thousands of artworks and artifacts that have yet to be digitized, but the collection of available objects is expected to swell as more are added. Several other museums have begun similar programs, according to the New York Times, but none as extensive as the Met’s ambitious new project.
So, if you’d like to research or enjoy art and history (or art history) — or if you’d like to make your own Valentine card featuring Jean Honore Fragonard’s “The Love Letter” (early 1770s), Mattheus van Beveren’s marble statuette of Cupid riding a lion (1675-90), or an 8th century BCE ivory carving of a woman at the window (Assyrian), they’re all yours.
Professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina, and the Contributing Editor and Curriculum Writer at Good Faith Media.