Famous artworks for free

The Met Open Access
United States (New York)

Now you are welcome to download a virtual van Gogh without having to pay an arm, a leg or an ear for it.

From masterpiece paintings to cats, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has released over 400,000 copyright-free digital works for remix and re-use online – offering a new resource for creativity, knowledge and ideas. The new policy, known as Open Access, allows them to give away high-resolution images of artworks in its collection free of charge.

The Met has been working toward the goal of sharing their comprehensive and diverse museum collection with the public for a number of years. Spanning 5,000 years of world culture, its core mission is to be open and accessible for all who wish to study and enjoy the works of art in their care.

In accordance with Creative Commons Zero (CC0), the hope is to shape the future of public domain images online and underscores the Met’s leadership role as one of the most important open museum collections in the world.

“Sharing is fundamental to how we promote discovery, innovation, and collaboration in the digital age,” said Creative Commons CEO Ryan Merkley. “The Met has given the world a profound gift in service of its mission: the largest museum in the United States has eliminated the barriers that would otherwise prohibit access to its content, and invited the world to use, remix, and share their public domain collections widely and without restriction.”

Explore the online collection here or use this prototype to find images that you can use and remix, across several open archives. Be creative: Render Rembrandts and play with Picassos.

Written by

Lisa Goldapple, Editor, Atlas of the Future (12 February 2017)

Project leader

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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El Greco’s The Vision of Saint John (1609-14)

Woman with a Parrot by Gustave Courbet

Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat by Vincent van Gogh

Creative Commons License



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