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Rembrandt via The Met Museum // CC0 1.0
Rembrandt via The Met Museum // CC0 1.0

Met Museum Makes 375,000 Images Freely Available Online

Rembrandt via The Met Museum // CC0 1.0
Rembrandt via The Met Museum // CC0 1.0

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has made around 375,000 images of public-domain artworks from its collections freely available online, The New York Times reports. Members of the public can download, edit, and distribute high-resolution photos from the Met’s website, with no copyright restrictions whatsoever.

The initiative—a part of the Met’s new open access policyincludes partnerships with Creative Commons, Wikimedia, Artstor, Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), Art Resource, and Pinterest in order to improve access to the museum's images. For example, web users can now find images, save, tag, or "pin” images of artworks on Creative Commons, as Hyperallergic reports. The Met has also named a new “Wikipedian in Residence,” Richard Knipel, who’s responsible for uploading pictures into Wikimedia Commons, documenting their metadata, and creating new articles on various artworks or topics.

The images feature 200,000 artworks, including famous paintings like Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware and El Greco’s The Vision of Saint John. They comprise a large portion of the Met’s collections, although many other of the institution's public domain works—think engravings, posters, and prints—have yet to be digitized. (Another 65,000 Met artworks have been digitized, but they don’t fall under public domain.)

“Our comprehensive and diverse museum collection spans 5000 years of world culture,” Met director Thomas P. Campbell said in a statement quoted by Artnet. “Our core mission is to be open and accessible for all who wish to study and enjoy the works of art in our care. Increasing access to the museum’s collection and scholarship serves the interests and needs of our 21st-century audiences by offering new resources for creativity, knowledge, and ideas.”

As Hyperallergic points out, the Met’s website has contained hundreds of thousands of publicly accessible images since 2014, but visitors were only able to download them for free if they were intended for non-commercial or scholarly use. Now, all of those images have CC0 1.0 or Creative Commons Zero licenses. You can browse the newly available works by going to the Met's Collection page and selecting the "Public Domain Artworks" filter on the left.

Digitized images of the Met's collections will be rolled out gradually, AFP Relax News reports.

[h/t The New York Times]

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The Getty Center, Surrounded By Wildfires, Will Leave Its Art Where It Is
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The wildfires sweeping through California have left countless homeowners and businesses scrambling as the blazes continue to grow out of control in various locations throughout the state. While art lovers worried when they heard that Los Angeles's Getty Center would be closing its doors this week, as the fires closed part of the 405 Freeway, there was a bit of good news. According to museum officials, the priceless works housed inside the famed Getty Center are said to be perfectly secure and won't need to be evacuated from the facility.

“The safest place for the art is right here at the Getty,” Ron Hartwig, the Getty’s vice president of communications, told the Los Angeles Times. According to its website, the museum was closed on December 5 and December 6 “to protect the collections from smoke from fires in the region,” but as of now, the art inside is staying put.

Though every museum has its own way of protecting the priceless works inside it, the Los Angeles Times notes that the Getty Center was constructed in such a way as to protect its contents from the very kind of emergency it's currently facing. The air throughout the gallery is filtered by a system that forces it out, rather than a filtration method which would bring air in. This system will keep the smoke and air pollutants from getting into the facility, and by closing the museum this week, the Getty is preventing the harmful air from entering the building through any open doors.

There is also a water tank at the facility that holds 1 million gallons in reserve for just such an occasion, and any brush on the property is routinely cleared away to prevent the likelihood of a fire spreading. The Getty Villa, a separate campus located in the Pacific Palisades off the Pacific Coast Highway, was also closed out of concern for air quality this week.

The museum is currently working with the police and fire departments in the area to determine the need for future closures and the evacuation of any personnel. So far, the fires have claimed more than 83,000 acres of land, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people and the temporary closure of I-405, which runs right alongside the Getty near Los Angeles’s Bel-Air neighborhood.

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This 77-Year-Old Artist Saves Money on Art Supplies by 'Painting' in Microsoft Excel
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It takes a lot of creativity to turn a blank canvas into an inspired work of art. Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi makes his pictures out of something that’s even more dull than a white page: an empty spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.

When he retired, the 77-year-old Horiuchi, whose work was recently spotlighted by Great Big Story, decided he wanted to get into art. At the time, he was hesitant to spend money on painting supplies or even computer software, though, so he began experimenting with one of the programs that was already at his disposal.

Horiuchi's unique “painting” method shows that in the right hands, Excel’s graph-building features can be used to bring colorful landscapes to life. The tranquil ponds, dense forests, and blossoming flowers in his art are made by drawing shapes with the software's line tool, then adding shading with the bucket tool.

Since picking up the hobby in the 2000s, Horiuchi has been awarded multiple prizes for his creative work with Excel. Let that be inspiration for Microsoft loyalists who are still broken up about the death of Paint.

You can get a behind-the-scenes look at the artist's process in the video below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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