In the museum realm there seem to be two opposing schools of thought about sharing images and artwork on the internet. One belief is that images are privately owned. Museums with this practice place watermarks on top of images and take other measures so that images are not shared. The other school of thought is that the images are meant to be shared. People pin and tweet and blog images and the community should be given tools to expand the reach of these museum collections.
The Getty Museum announced this summer that many of their galleries will make high-resolution images available for download. The Getty pointed to a growing public desire to use images in research and to enjoy the collections far from the institution itself.
Rijksstudio offers free high-resolution images to the public. They are undergoing a large digitization project of their full collection, a staggering one million works. You can download images from their site, but you’ll have to sign up first. You can create personal galleries of images and have the option to save zoomed-in details of an artwork. The Rijksmuseum encourages users to download and re-purpose or tamper. “We’re a public institution, and so the art and objects we have are, in a way, everyone’s property,” said Taco Dibbits, the director of collections at the Rijksmuseum, in a NY Times interview.
Images from the Rijksmuseum.