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A museum full of newly available images

By February 9, 2017 Art, History of Art, Museums 2 Comments


Yes, you are looking at Claude Monet’s Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies (1899), from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York. And if you want to make a hooked rug version of it, or even create a pattern of it to sell, now you can. This is from the Met’s webpage announcement:

“Renowned for its comprehensive collection of work that captures “5,000 years of art spanning all cultures and time periods,” New York City’s world famous Metropolitan Museum of Art has recently announced that 375,000 of its pieces in the public domain are now available without restrictions.

The new policy, called Open Access, allows individuals to easily access the images and use them for “any purpose, including commercial and noncommercial use, free of charge and without requiring permission from the Museum.” The available works represent a wide range of movements, styles, and mediums, and span iconic paintings by Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh to centuries-old costumes and armor.”

“You can access the unrestricted images through the Met’s website. As you search its collection, all you need to do is check off the “Public Domain Artworks” option under “Show Only.”

Any excuse to take a few hours off from politics is a good idea, these days, and meandering through the “Public Domain” artwork on the museum’s website, imagining how one could use great pieces of art as a rug design, is just good for the soul. Just go to metmuseum.org. Look for the “ART” menu button at the top, then on the left side, choose these filters: “Artworks With Images” and “Public Domain Artworks”, and you are good to go. Well over 375,000 images in every conceivable medium and period of art history will appear before you.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, how about Cupid on a Tiger, drawn in 1652, by Wenceslaus Hollar (Bohemian, Prague 1607–1677 London):

We really don’t see that many “Cupid on a Tiger” rugs, do we? Or maybe this 18th century Bag for Noh Mask (made of silk and twill) will give you an idea for a rug design:

Here is a Design Drawing by Christopher Dresser (British, Glasgow, Scotland 1834–1904) that was done in 1883 for you to consider:

You will find brooches, medieval armor, portraits and pastels, ancient weaving fragments, silverware, sculptures, photographs, watches, netsukes, hieroglyphs, statues and shoebuckles, just to name a few.

Not all, of course, lend themselves directly to a rug design, but look at this jeweled button, from 1775, with a design so traditional in hooked rugs, of flowers in a basket:

Of course, this button was worked in metal, rubies, sapphires and pearls, which adds a little dazzle.

And although all these images are now in the public domain, if you use one directly, I personally think your tag should read “based on a… by (name of artist) from the Metropolitan Museum” just to be fair. And if you are just informed by a particular artwork, I believe the right tagging would be “inspired by…”.

Maybe you could do something with this woodcut print by Hans Hoffman (German) from 1556:

Hans Hoffmann (German, Nuremberg ca. 1545/1550–1591/1592 Prague)
New Modelbüch allen Nägerin u. Sydenstickern, 1556
Woodcut; Overall: 7 5/16 x 5 5/16 in. (18.5 x 13.5 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1930 (30.59.2(1-55))

Through this new release of images into the public domain, you need not just be inspired by a work. You can take it, print it out, make a copy, trace it exactly. But first, of course, you have to look. Hope you go exploring, and find many wonderful things.


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