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Art and Design

Art and Design

Finding Images

Portals & Image Databases

Web Gallery of Art – European painting & sculpture, 1000-1850 – a favorite source for Renaissance & Baroque art images – good quality images
World Images – start a search
Chris Witcombe’s Image Resources – a vast array of sources
Mary Ann Sullivan’s Digital Imaging Project – great source for architecture, high-quality images

Photographs & Other Materials

Life Magazine – hosted by Google, search millions of historic photos (1860s-1970s) from LIFE Photo Archive
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collectionsearch collection – collection centered on the history of LA, Southern California, and California
George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography – contemporary & historic photographs, including of the U.S. Civil War and early cityscapes, as well as classic examples from the history of photography
— New York Public Library Digital Gallery – includes illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs
Library of Congress Photographs & Printsview on Flickr

Museum Collection Image Databases

Los Angeles County Museum of Art – modern and contemporary art, Latin American, Chinese, Islamic, Japanese, and Korean art, and more
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. – art of the U.S. and Europe
Museum of Modern Art, New York – modern art of the U.S. and Europe, primarily, but also some contemporary art
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam – features the work of whom else but VVG (museum also has his letters!)
National Gallery, London – find, for example, Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait
Tate Museum, London – British art from 1500 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art
Louvre Museum, Paris – home of the Mona Lisa, Michelangelo’s statue of David and much more


Google Art Project

Featuring thousands of artworks from a variety of museums photographed in high resolution, Google Art Project lets you examine details of an artwork close up & also see it in context – i.e. see how it looks in the museum/gallery where it’s located. Explore. Start by selecting an artist on the homepage (click on link above, then on “Artists” at upper left – artists are organized by first name), or alternately, select a museum (click on “Collections” upper left). You can also create and share your own art exhibits or galleries (see “User Galleries”).

Copyright Use Information from Columbia University Libraries – Fair Use in Education and Research

Artist & History sites

Art History Resources on the Web

Getty Research Institute - Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA)

 Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History  /  The Metropolitan Museum of Art



Smarthistory is a free and open, not-for-profit, art history textbook. 

Copyright & Fair Use

Images are integral to art scholarship and greatly enhance presentations and learning on visual topics. Be sure you understand the concept of "fair use" before you use or repurpose images into your work.

Fair use is generally defined as the allowance to use copyrighted material in a fair manner without obtaining permission from the copyright holder. For educational purposes (research papers, classroom presentations, etc.) always cite the original work! This may take the form of in–text citations, a references page, an addendum to presentation, etc. If you are planning to use your work beyond the classroom (educational), on the web, for commercial (for-profit) purposes, etc., you should obtain permission from the copyright holder for all copyrighted works used in your work (including derivative uses); not obtaining permission is a violation of US copyright.

There are four factors that impact the justification for Fair Use (Section 107 of US Copyright Law).

1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes. This refers to:

Whether the work is for educational use, whether there is profit from the use of the work, whether the use is credited (cited), level of access to the work, whether the use is for criticism, commentary, or news reporting, how derivative the use of the work is.

2. The nature of the copyrighted work. This refers to:

Whether the work is published, how creative the original work is, whether the work is fiction or non-fiction.

3. Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. This refers to:

How much of the original work is used, how important the portion used is to the original work.

4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. This refers to:

Whether the use will impede or prevent the copyright holder from profiting from their work.

A good rule of thumb is to check a website for specific guidelines on permissions. Websites with image content that is copyrighted will usually state the parameters that they consider fair use for their content. Read this information to better understand how to cite the content you are using. Again, always cite your sources.

This page was adapted from the site on Visual Resources developed by Dan McClure and Tricia Juettemeyer at:

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