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Visual Arts Complex
Visual Arts Complex

Find Images: General Digital Collections, Libraries, and Related Content

These are image resources representing broad content, with works of art and visual culture from around the world and across historical periods. Feel free to contact us with other suggestions. You might also check for relevant content on the following VRC pages:

Images posted on the Internet are protected by copyright laws — read the terms of use for any website before downloading images, even for educational purposes.

  • Accunet/AP Multimedia Archive
    An electronic library containing the Associated Press’ current year’s photo reports and a selection of photos from their 50 million image print and negative library. The Multimedia Archive also inlcudes AP graphics, text and audio. This resource provides access to over 700,000 photographs dating back to 1840 as well as audio and visual content from the AP archives (access is limited to the CU-Boulder community with a limit of one concurrent user).
  • Artstor
    The University Libraries at CU subscribes to Artstor, a digital library of over one million images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences (access is limited to the CU community).
  • Art Images for College Teaching (AICT)
    A personal, non-profit project of its author, art historian and visual resources curator Allan T. Kohl. AICT is intended primarily to disseminate images of art and architectural works in the public domain on a free-access, free-use basis to all levels of the educational community, as well as to the public at large.
  • Artserve
    “Art and Architecture mainly from the Mediterranean Basin, Japan, India and Cambodia.” Created by Michael Greenhalgh, Professor Emeritus of Art History at the Australian National University. Contains around 450,000 images, but does not include a database. As of 2012, the site does not appear to be actively maintained, but a page elsewhere at ANU indicates that this project may be revisited. Worth keeping an eye on.
  • Bildarchiv Foto Marburg, Image Index of Art and Architecture
    “Its mission is to collect, index and make available photographs related to European art and architecture, as well as to conduct research on the history, practice and theory of how visual cultural assets are passed on, especially the accompanying transformation process as it relates to the media, the conditions of storing knowledge in visual form, and the significance to society of remembering visual culture. With its roughly 1.7 million photographs, Foto Marburg is one of the largest image archives on European art and architecture.”
  • Creative Commons Search
    Looking for images or other creative works that you can reuse or modify? Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization that provides creators with a set of flexible copyleft licenses and tools that they can easily assign to their works free of charge. This portal helps you find works with CC licenses, which you can reuse under the terms selected by the creator.
  • Digital Imaging Project
    Photographs from the travels of Mary Ann Sullivan at Bluffton University. The archive currently contains over 19,000 images and grows as Sullivan continues her travels. Emphasis on European and American architecture, but also includes Egyptian, some Asian, and Mexican sites. They are freely available for personal or educational purposes.
  • Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture: Image and Text Collections
    “Collects and creates electronic resources for study and research of the decorative arts, with a particular focus on Early America. Included are electronic texts and facsimiles, image databases, and Web resources. Made possible by the Chipstone Foundation, the project is produced at the University of Wisconsin Madison General Library System.” From the University of Wisconsin.
  • Europeana
    “Around 1500 institutions have contributed to Europeana. Renowned names such as the British Library in London, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Louvre in Paris are featured alongside smaller organisations across Europe. Together, their assembled collections allow you to explore Europe’s history from ancient times to the modern day.”
  • Flickr
    Online photo management and sharing application. Users upload and tag (label) photos, which they may choose to share publicly and allow others to tag for better search results. When opened, images available for downloading feature an ALL SIZES button that will reveal download options. Flickr Commons is a collection of publicly-held photography collections, launched in January of 2008. Also, many Flickr users have chosen to offer their work under a Creative Commons license, and you can browse or search for content available under each type of license.
  • Galaxy of Images, Smithsonian Libraries
    “The thousands of images on this site represent only a small portion of the more than 1.5 million printed books and manuscripts in the collections of Smithsonian Institution Libraries.” Very broad range of content; all images have been assigned to at least one (and sometimes more) collections.
  • Joconde
    A collective catalog of the collections of French museums. Over 200,000 records are accompanied by images. In French.
  • Library of Congress Digital Collections
    With a concentration on its most rare collections and those unavailable anywhere else, this is a growing treasury of digitized photographs, manuscripts, maps, sound recordings, motion pictures, and books, as well as born-digital materials such as Web sites.
  • Library of Congress Global Gateway
    Links to individual digital collections from the Library of Congress and others that focus on history and cultures around the world, as well as collaborative digital libraries built with international partners.
  • LIFE Photo Archive Hosted by Google
    “Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google.”
  • NYPL Digital Gallery
    Provides free and open access to over 800,000 images digitized from the New York Public Library’s vast collections, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs and more.
  • Olga’s Gallery
    Personal site of over 10,000 fair use images with a focus on the canon of Western Art from the medieval to modern periods. Largely painting with a few sculptures. Terms of Use require users to cite the Web site as the image source.
  • Oxford Art Online
    Authoritative reference resource on the history of art; includes many illustrated articles (access is limited to the CU-Boulder community).
  • UNESCO World Heritage
    The World Heritage List includes over 900 properties forming part of the cultural and natural heritage which the World Heritage Committee considers as having outstanding universal value. The list is arranged alphabetically by country, and most sites’ entries include a Gallery tab with images. Most images appear to be limited to 500 pixels. Many sites’ entries also feature a Video tab.
  • VADS (the Visual Arts Data Service)
    Based in the UK. Visual art collections comprising over 100,000 images that are freely available and copyright cleared for use in learning, teaching and research in the UK.
  • Web Gallery of Art
    A personal gallery with a searchable database of European painting and sculpture from the 12th to mid-19th centuries. Contains over 18,000 images. While most images are surrogates scanned from printed sources, many are of acceptable quality for classroom projection.
  • Wellcome Images
    “Wellcome Images is one of the world’s richest and most unique collections, with themes ranging from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and biomedical science.”
  • WorldImages
    Provides access to the California State University IMAGE Project. It has just been selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in its historic collection of Internet materials. It contains approximately 80,000 images, is global in coverage and includes all areas of visual imagery.
  • World Digital Library
    The World Digital Library (WDL) makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.
  • Yale Digital Content, Cross Collection Discovery
    “Cross Collection Discovery (CCD) provides a way to search across Yale’s collections of art, natural history, books, and maps, as well as photos, audio, and video documenting people, places, and events that form part of Yale’s institutional identity and contribution to scholarship.”