An Auguste Rodin sculpture and Paris Street; Rainy Day (1877) by Gustave Caillebotte at the Art Institute of Chicago. Photo by Phil
If you want to have a Ferris Bueller moment, staring deeply into the pointillistic dots painted by Georges Seurat, you need not plan a trip to the “Windy City,” you can now do it from the comfort of your office chair.
The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) announced that the latest redesign of its website features open access to 52,438 public domain images of works in its collection, with more to come. As part of the revamp, the museum has also enhanced the resolution of many images, allowing viewers to see works in far greater detail than ever before.
As the museum’s executive creative director of experience design Michael Neault wrote in an article announcing the changes, visitors to the AIC’s website can now: “Check out the paint strokes in Vincent van Gogh’s The Bedroom, the charcoal details on Charles White’s Harvest Talk, or the synaesthetic richness of Georgia O’Keeffe’s Blue and Green Music.”
These images are now available under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, which waives rights to the works worldwide, or, as Creative Commons puts it: “You can copy, modify, distribute, and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.”
Of the AIC’s collection of about 300,000 works, not all are in the public domain and therefore only some are eligible for download. Perennial favorites that aren’t among the trove of readily available high-resolution images include Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks (1942) and Grant Wood’s American Gothic (1930).