Image Resources

  • AICT: Art Images for College Teaching Developed by Allan T. Kohl, a Visual Resources Librarian at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, the images have been photographed on location by the author, who consents to their use in any application that is both educational and non-commercial in nature. Collection emphasis is on ancient, medieval, and Renaissance European art and architecture.
  • Architectural Association Photo Library This online photo library contains 8,000 images that represent the highlights of the school’s broader collection. Slides, negatives and prints of historical and contemporary architecture are available in low resolution for educational purposes.
  • Architecture and Interior Design for 20th Century America: 1935-1955 This Library of Congress collection includes digitized photographs of buildings primarily from the Northeastern United States.
  • Archivision Architectural Images The Archivision Digital Research Library is currently comprised of 65,000 images of architecture, archeological sites, gardens, parks, and works of art with broad appeal in humanities teaching. The Library is divided into modules and spans the globe and all time periods, with each module offering a mix of historic and contemporary material.
  • Archnet Islamic architecture image library of historic and contemporary buildings and sites and general views. Offered by MIT School of Architecture and Planning and University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, in cooperation with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
  • Art Institute of Chicago Collection Select show filters, scroll down and select public domain to search the copyright-free images. When you click on an open access image, the CC0 public domain designation appears beneath the image on the left side of your screen. A download button appears on the right side of the screen. The Institute requests attribution when you use their Open Access images.
  • Art Resource A stock photo archive containing over 100,000 keyword-searchable fine art images, cross-referenced by subject, title, artist, period, place, and medium. Offers a range of material from prehistoric times to the present.
  • ARTstor Provides more than one million digital images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and sciences with an accessible suite of software tools for teaching and research. Available features include: searching, browsing, & organizing images; adding images; presenting images; and integrating with courseware. For detailed information about content and usage, see the ARTstor website. For professor account details, contact
  • Associated Press A licensed database available to KU faculty and students. Contains over one million of the Associated Press's images dating back to 1826 along with tens of thousands of graphics, audio files dating from the 1920's, and news stories dating from 1997. New content is added constantly to news photographs, audio sound bites, and graphics spanning 180 years of history. Simple keyword searching or more complex searches such as concept, color, and category.
  • Bildindex der Kunst und Architektur Organized by the Bildarchiv Foto Marburg, this resource has nearly 2 million images of works of European art and architecture, and can be searched by keyword, artist, patron, medium, theme, or other option. The site is in German.
  • Biodiversity Heritage Library An open access digital library for biodiversity literature with over 150,000 illustrations in the public domain on Flickr each with a link to the high resolution download. The download process is as follows: Clicking the link on Flickr will take you to the BHL catalog page. Then locate the PageID for the image and copy it into your browser navigation bar using this syntax:
  • Bridgeman Images A commercial vendor founded in 1972 offering art, culture, and history images from over 8,000 collections; more than 55,000 entries and 46,497 images from over 29,000 artists.
  • Census of Antique Works of Art and Architecture Known in the Renaissance This multi-tiered database has more than 20,000 Renaissance Documents (inventories, guide books, lives of artists, archival documents, etc.) related to more than 10,000 Antique Monuments (sculptures, architecture, vases, etc.) that are accompanied by 30,000 photographs or illustrations. The collection of images includes: drawings, sketchbooks, paintings, engravings, sculpture, medals, applied arts, etc. The database can be utilized for its collection of images, but more extensive information is provided in the database. Monuments, their preservation history, provenance history, and other relevant information are accompanied by bibliographic citations.
  • Cities & Buildings Database A collection of over 5000 digitized images of buildings and cities drawn from across time and throughout the world, available to students, researchers and educators on the web. The images have been scanned from original slides or drawn from documents in the public domain. Researchers can search for buildings by country, city, style, title, architect, date of construction, as well as other fields.
  • Cleveland Museum of Art Collection Enter your search term, select open access. After selecting open access, the thumbnails of all open access images appear with the CC0 designation beneath them. Select an image to download by clicking on the thumbnail and a download button will appear to the right of the image.
  • Digital Images Collections Guide Digital Images Collections Guide, compiled by Scott Spicer. Directory to digital image collections organized into 85 subject categories with descriptions and links to the various collections. Most, but not all, of the collections are freely available for searching.
  • Digital Imaging Project More than 12,000 art historical images of sculpture and architecture from pre-historic to post-modern posted by Mary Ann Sullivan of Bluffton University.
  • Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture 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 journals, image databases, and information on organizations, museums and research facilities. Made possible by the Chipstone Foundation, the site was created and is maintained at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries.
  • Flickr Advanced Search Flickr is an online image hosting service. Its Advanced Search allows you to specify that your search returns only image results with Creative Commons licenses attached to them.
  • 40 Centuries of Architecture Includes images plus periods, localities, and subject indexes for Egyptian, Greek, Islamic, Romanesque, Roman, Gothic, and Byzantine Architecture. Also an introduction, map, and index for Armenian Architecture.
  • Getty Open Content Images The J. Paul Getty Trust has made 87,000+ images in their collection available for download. Open content images are identified with a "Download" link which can be found by clicking into the "Primary Title" link to access the full record.
  • Google and Google Image Search Google is the favorite search engine of search experts and general Web users. Since it went public in 1998, it has concentrated on providing the best search facilities, resisting the temptation to become a portal, the downfall of its rivals. It currently vies with AllTheWeb for the widest coverage and best relevancy, and claims to be the most comprehensive image search on the web. Google's Advanced Search allows you to specify usage rights in your search so you can be sure to return results that match your preferred license.
  • HABS, HAER, and HALS Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) and the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) collections are among the largest and most heavily used in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress. Since 2000, documentation from the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) has been added to the holdings. The collections document achievements in architecture, engineering, and landscape design in the United States and its territories through a comprehensive range of building types, engineering technologies, and landscapes.
  • Image Collections and Online Art Directory of image websites compiled by Patrick Young at the University of Michigan.
  • International Center of Medieval Art Image Database Currently hosted on Flickr. The images were taken by ICMA members, and can be used by other ICMA members without restriction.
  • International Dunhuang Project An international collaboration to make information and images of all manuscripts, paintings, textiles and artefacts from Dunhuang and archaeological sites of the Eastern Silk Road freely available on the Internet; includes of 420,000 images with most entries providing provenance and a brief contextual history.
  • 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.
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art Open Access Images The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has a very large collection of copyright-free images that it has made available online. Search its collection of art and objects from around the world, with the Show Public Domain Images Only option selected, to see nearly 25,000 publicly available images.
  • Lycos and Lycos Multimedia Search Lycos was launched in 1994. In 1999 it stopped doing its own indexing and began using FAST's Web index, so in theory it has the same coverage and relevancy as AllTheWeb. However, its picture search returns quite different results from AllTheWeb's. This is because Lycos has entered commercial partnership with Getty and always presents Getty's images first in any search results. Includes audio and video clips as well as still images.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art Open Access Images In 2017, The Metropolitan Museum of Art implemented an Open Access policy, which makes images of artworks that its curators believe to be in the public domain available for unrestricted use (in accordance with the Creative Commons Zero designation). To search the Met’s collection for free images, make sure the Open Access option is selected.
  • NARA The National Archives and Records Administration offers thousands of historical photographs. You can find many of them through the above-linked online exhibits page, while others are available on their Flickr page, or within their Online Catalog.
  • NASA NASA has high resolution image collections available both on their website and on Flickr. NASA images are generally not copyrighted.
  • National Gallery of Art Images Click on advanced search below the search bar, then select Open Access and run your search. The search results return a page of thumbnail images. The thumbnails open to a single image page. You can download images suitable for print publication using the download icon that has two bars beneath it. The Gallery's Open Access policy asks users to give credit.
  • NOAA Photo Library The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration makes thousands of stunning high resolution images available for download for free. The photos can be viewed by browsing the galleries or the catalogs for each collection. Credit MUST be given to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce.
  • NYPL Digital Gallery Over 450,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the collections of The New York Public Library, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more.
  • Oxford Art Online Licensed for the KU staff, students and faculty; also available to anyone using a public workstation within the KU Libraries. Includes over 45,000 articles, cross references within the text, and extensive links to art images in galleries and museums around the world. Articles are written and signed by scholars and include bibliographic references. Topics include archaeology, architecture, art, design, costume, landscape design, and photography from all world cultures and all time periods will find this an invaluable resource. Easy to use for the novice but with in-depth searching options for the more experienced researcher.
  • Paris Musées Paris Musées is a public entity that oversees the 14 municipal museums of Paris. From the home page, click on the advanced search button (recherche avancée). Then select the free images only filter (image libre de droit seulement) and enter your search term. Choose “see” (voir), then “download” (télécharger). You'll get a zip file with the high resolution image, a text file with meta data for the image, and a PDF that explains the CC0 program both in French and English.
  • RIBApix A growing database dedicated to providing exceptional and unique images from the collections of the British Architectural Library at the Royal Institute of British Architects, the world’s most extensive visual archive devoted to architecture. RIBApix covers world architecture of all periods together with related subjects such as interior design, landscape, topography, planning, construction and the decorative arts. Many of the images are also of social documentary importance. Searching can be done in several ways: through a Quick search box for simple free–text searches; using Browse to access the entire collection; or for more structured searching by categories such as architect and building you should use Advanced search or Subject search.
  • Rijksmuseum Amsterdam The Rijksmuseum allows jpeg images of artwork in their collection to be downloaded for free from the relevant page and provides free high-res TIFF files with color reference for professional use upon request.
  • RKDimages Over 200,000 images of works of art; includes primarily Dutch and Flemish art work from the 14th through the 19th centuries; can be searched by artist, subject, location or various other elements.
  • Saskia Art Images Licensed for the KU staff, students and faculty; also available to anyone using a public workstation within the KU Libraries. This database with a searchable catalog contains 28,000 images of works of art and architecture. Some works are shown in only one image; others have two or more, usually showing different views (e.g., of a sculpture or a building) or one or more details. All images are licensed perpetually from Saskia, Ltd.
  • 1200 Years of Italian Sculpture Searchable by artist, locality or time periods such as Romanesque and Early Middle Ages, Gothic, Renissance, Baroque, or Modern. In Italian.
  • USDA The U.S. Department of Agriculture has high resolution photos available for download that are copyright-free, public domain, images of crops, animals, insects, food, plants, and more.
  • UPDIG: Universal Photographic Digital Imaging Guidelines Guidelines and best practices documents aiming to clarify issues affecting accurate reproduction and management of digital image files.
  • Visual Arts Data Service (VADS) A British resource supplying digital resources for research, teaching and learning in the arts and humanities. One area of emphasis is the Visual Arts with over 30 image collections that can be searched either simultaneously or individually with keywords. Among the databases is the African and Asian Visual Artists Archive.
  • WebMuseum Paris Developed by Nicolas Pioch in 1994, the WebMuseum includes a Famous Artists section that includes biographical and visuals for nearly 200 artists, a Themes index, a tour of Paris, and other features.
  • Wellcome Library The Wellcome Library in London made 100,000 art and medicine images available online for open use. This collection is where to look for offbeat, bizarre photos including medical art of all types including manuscripts, paintings, etchings, early photography and advertisements.
  • World Art Treasures 100,000 slides belonging to the Jacque-Edouard Berger Foundation, all of them devoted to art, and including the main civilizations, such as Egypt, China, Japan, India, Europe, its purpose is to offer a different approach to art through Internet. Images are searchable by artist, by country-region-city, or by period.
  • World Images Kiosk 100,000 images from the California State University IMAGE Project; spans all areas of history and virtually every medium; designed as a teaching tool, the site also includes educational tools, webcasts, and a glossary; searches can be done by artist, style, technique, building type and historical era, or browse under broad historical categories.

Art & Architecture Library

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