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Rembrandt via The Met Museum // CC0 1.0

Met Museum Makes 375,000 Images Freely Available Online

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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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Ape Meets Girl
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Pop Culture
Epic Gremlins Poster Contains More Than 80 References to Classic Movies
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Ape Meets Girl

It’s easy to see why Gremlins (1984) appeals to movie nerds. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Chris Columbus, the film has horror, humor, and awesome 1980s special effects that strike a balance between campy and creepy. Perhaps it’s the movie’s status as a pop culture treasure that inspired artist Kevin Wilson to make it the center of his epic hidden-image puzzle of movie references.

According to io9, Wilson, who works under the pseudonym Ape Meets Girl, has hidden 84 nods to different movies in this Gremlins poster. The scene is taken from the movie’s opening, when Randall enters a shop in Chinatown looking for a gift for his son and leaves with a mysterious creature. Like in the film, Mr. Wing’s shop in the poster is filled with mysterious artifacts, but look closely and you’ll find some objects that look familiar. Tucked onto the bottom shelf is a Chucky doll from Child’s Play (1988); above Randall’s head is a plank of wood from the Orca ship made famous by Jaws (1975); behind Mr. Wing’s counter, which is draped with a rug from The Shining’s (1980) Overlook Hotel, is the painting of Vigo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters II (1989). The poster was released by the Hero Complex Gallery at New York Comic Con earlier this month.

“Early on, myself and HCG had talked about having a few '80s Easter Eggs, but as we started making a list it got longer and longer,” Wilson told Mental Floss. “It soon expanded from '80s to any prop or McGuffin that would fit the curio shop setting. I had to stop somewhere so I stopped at 84, the year Gremlins was released. Since then I’ve thought of dozens more I wish I’d included.”

The ambitious artwork has already sold out, but fortunately cinema buffs can take as much time as they like scouring the poster from their computers. Once you think you’ve found all the references you can possibly find, you can check out Wilson’s key below to see what you missed (and yes, he already knows No. 1 should be Clash of the Titans [1981], not Jason and the Argonauts [1963]). For more pop culture-inspired art, follow Ape Meets Girl on Facebook and Instagram.

Key for hidden image puzzle.
Ape Meets Girl

[h/t io9]

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Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
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presidents
Barack Obama Taps Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait
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Kehinde Wiley
Kehinde Wiley Studio, Inc., Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Kehinde Wiley, an American artist known for his grand portraits of African-American subjects, has painted Michael Jackson, Ice-T, and The Notorious B.I.G. in his work. Now the artist will have the honor of adding Barack Obama to that list. According to the Smithsonian, the former president has selected Wiley to paint his official presidential portrait, which will hang in the National Portrait Gallery.

Wiley’s portraits typically depict black people in powerful poses. Sometimes he models his work after classic paintings, as was the case with "Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps.” The subjects are often dressed in hip-hop-style clothing and placed against decorative backdrops.

Portrait by Kehinde Wiley
"Le Roi a la Chasse"
Kehinde Wiley, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Smithsonian also announced that Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald has been chosen by former first lady Michelle Obama to paint her portrait for the gallery. Like Wiley, Sherald uses her work to challenge stereotypes of African-Americans in art.

“The Portrait Gallery is absolutely delighted that Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald have agreed to create the official portraits of our former president and first lady,” Kim Sajet, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said in a press release. “Both have achieved enormous success as artists, but even more, they make art that reflects the power and potential of portraiture in the 21st century.”

The tradition of the president and first lady posing for portraits for the National Portrait Gallery dates back to George H.W. Bush. Both Wiley’s and Sherald’s pieces will be revealed in early 2018 as permanent additions to the gallery in Washington, D.C.

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