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Getty Adds 100,000 Images To The Digital Public Library of America



Rosa Bonheur sketchbook from 1847 with studies of plants, peasants, farm tools, decorative objects, landscapes, and human figures.

The Getty Institute have added the metadata (licensed CC0 for 100,000 digitized art materials to The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), making them part of the searchable collection there. The DPLA is partnered with other champions of Open Knowledge such as the Internet Archive. The DPLA has also partnerd with Europeana. There’s already a page that allows you to search both collections, here:

Making digitized art historical materials easy to find and access in this way is important for making art history more

Google Art Project on Wikimedia Commons

La Grande Jatte

Google Art Project images of two dimensional art in the public domain are available on Wikimedia Commons:

The collection consists of 1,061 high-resolution images by 486 different artists from galleries including the Tate Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Uffizi in Florence.

Some of the images are extremely high resolution, ideal for close study and remixing. The Seurat painting above is available as a 30,000 × 19,970 pixel,  218.33 MB JPEG image for example. Larger images are also available tiled, idead for Digital Humanities analysis or just using a detail as your desktop wallpaper.

The US National Gallery of Art Opens Up

Green Wheat Fields

The National Gallery of Art in the USA has opened up 35,000 images of works of art presumed to be in the public domain. The images are being made available at up to 3000 pixels wide, good enough to illustrate electronic articles and lectures. The above image is a Van Gogh from the collection.

You can read the gallery’s very clear Open Access policy here:

The cost of sourcing good quality illustrations for essays has been recognized as having a chilling effect on the practice of art history, so it’s good to see more and more institutions supporting art history through Open Knowledge.


Tate Open Data Visualizations

Image By Jim Davenport

Image By Jim Davenport

“Delightful and revealing graphics can emerge from swathes of seemingly impenetrable facts and figures.” writes Tate’s Archives & Access Project Lead Developer and Web Architect, Richard Barrett-Small. Since the Tate Gallery released their collection metadata as Open Data earlier in the year, artists and digital humanists have been digging in to those facts and figures. In an article on the Tate website: “Archives & Access project: Open data brings beauty and insight“, Richard presents some of their work (including a graphic by the author of this post). Take a look and see what kind of art historical and social insights into a major art collection Open Data can help to generate.

Tate Art Maps Will Be Open Data

Tate Art Maps

The Tate Gallery are crowdsourcing location data for their collection. This means that the public can locate the subjects of representional artworks on the map and share this with the Tate. This kind of geodata is very useful for digital art history, as placing an artwork on the map palces it in the cultural and economic landscape of the time as well as the geographic one. It’s also useful in data mash-ups for local history projects and driving tourism.

This data will eventually make its way into Tate’s CC0 Open Data collections dataset. And the source code is available on Github under the GPLv3. Open Data and Free Software! Tate keep getting it right.

Exciting News From The Getty

Getty Vocabularies LOD

Exciting news from the Getty Research Institute today:

The Getty Research Institute’s Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT) is now available as linked open data under the  Open Data Commons Attribution License (ODC-BY) version 1.0 . You can access the vocabulary via a SPARQL endpoint (Update 2014-02-22: and download the dataset!) here:

The AAT is a major art historical resource. It defines over 250,000 art and architecture terms covering history, style, and technique. This provides a well-defined common vocabulary for discussion of the arts and of cultural heritage.

And this is just the start. The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names will be released as Linked Open Data in July 2014 and the Union List of Artist Names in January 2015. These are resources that are used as naming authorities by big Free-and-Open projects like Wikipedia and Europeana, and it is important for the foundations of Open resources to themselves be Open.

Congratulations to the Getty Research Institute for opening up such an important and foundational dataset.

ICONCLASS Is Now Linked Open Data

Hunter's Trophy With A Dog

ICONCLASS is a subject classification system. It’s used to describe the subjects of artworks, the people, locations, scenes and concepts that make up an image. ICONCLASS consists of 28,000 hierarchically ordered concepts describing subject matter, divided into ten main areas.For example an image containing owls is 25F34, an image containing pheasant is 25F38(PHEASANT), or 43C113: Spoils of the hunt, game, venison. Hunting dogs are 43C1147, guns are firearms which are 45C16. And a scene of the edge of the wood is 25H155. To give other examples an image of Callisto turned into a bear is 97CC2, and a blue image is 22C4(BLUE) .

Started by Henri van de Waal (1910-1972) and completed by a large group of scholars in the years following his death, ICONCLASS became available online in 2004. It’s used to classify several major collections, for example the RKDimages database of Dutch and Flemish art. And it’s now available as Linked Open Data under the Open Database License (ODbL) version 1.0. You can find out more here:

Classification systems and ontologies make Open Data easier to manage and search, making it more accessible and useful. As linked Open Data itself, ICONCLASS is a great resource for use with other Open Data.

Tate Release Collection Metadata As Open Data


Image: “King George V, Accompanied by Queen Mary, at the Opening of the Modern Foreign and Sargent Galleries at the Tate Gallery, 26 June 1926” (1926) by John Lavery

With over 70,000 works of art at four major locations and a global reputation, the Tate gallery is the UK’s leading art institution. Tate recently released their complete collection metadata as Open Data. This is a list of 69130 artworks that the Tate own and the 3528 artists who made them. Dates, locations, artistic movements, subject matter and many more details are included in the data making it an amazing resource for the digital humanities and for artistic re-use of the data.

The Tate are to be congratulated for providing such an exemplary example of how to release an open art history dataset. The metadata is CC0 licensed, so it is clearly marked as Open Data with extensive and well understood usage rights. It has been released in JSON and CSV formats. These are both easily machine parsable but still human redable formats, the former is more detailed and the latter simpler. This makes the structure of the data easy to understand and to create software to process. And it has been released as a downloadable dataset hosted in a version controlled public repository with a bug-tracker and documentation. This makes accessing and acquiring the data easy, and raising any issues that emerge while working with the data easy as well.

Attention from the media and new media artists has been immediate and positive, gaining attention online for the Tate as an institution. Academic attention should become apparent in projects and publications soon. This shows the value of getting Art History Open Data right for both the public and for the institution releasing it.

Excitingly, Tate’s pages hint that “A substantial portion of the 70,000 Tate collection works are being made available under Creative Commons licences”. Hopefully this will be CC0 to clear up any confusion over “sweat of the brow” copyright in the UK.

We’re Back

There have been lots of exciting developments in Open Art History recently and more are coming up. We’re looking forward to covering them!

Yale University

Yale University has an Open Access Policy that allows the fully free use of many of its reproductions of public domain art.

You can read the policy here.

To quote the policy:

The Open Access Policy applies to digital images of works in Yale University’s museum, archive and library collections that are believed to be in the public domain and free of other restrictions, available through Yale’s electronic interfaces. The policy does not apply to works protected by copyright, by privacy rights, or that are otherwise restricted. Visit the links toward the end of this document for more information about copyright. You can discover Yale’s open access digital images through the Discover Yale Digital Content or through individual collection websites.

The Yale Center For British Art in particular marks public domain work and provides download links for high-resolution scans of artworks.

Yale’s policy is clear, reflects best practice, and creates a major resource for Open Art History. Have a browse and see what you can find!

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