Art Institute of Chicago releases thousands of hi-res artworks for free

A city steeped in art and culture, Chicago boasts one of the oldest and largest museums in the United States: the Art Institute of Chicago. While visiting this historic institution should be on any art lovers’ list, a recent website redesign has made experiencing its collection as simple as a click of a mouse.

Now, everyone is able to download, print, or use its new public domain collection of 52,438 artworks and counting under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. Digital collections provide access to millions of people who are unable or unwilling to travel to the cities in which the art resides. It also give millions of scholars, teachers, and students resources that were once available only to a select few.

Art Institute of Chicago releases thousands of hi-res artworks for free

Additionally, the Art Institute of Chicago has enhanced the quality of its digital reproductions, enabling visitors to zoom in even closer to the high-res artworks.

While many people will undoubtedly visit the website to view world-famous works like Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte and Hopper’s Nighthawks, the museum hopes that this redesign will also make its less prominent pieces more visible to the public.

Through features such as our recommendation engine, we are making efforts to surface lesser-known artworks that are just as interesting but may be under the radar,” Michael Neault, the museum’s Executive Director of Digital Experience says. “So hopefully you’ll discover some new friends along the way.”

Art Institute of Chicago releases thousands of hi-res artworks for free

The Metropolitan Museum of Art also made all of the public domain works in its collection available online back in February 2017. As a result, the Met’s website saw a 64% increase in image downloads and a 17% traffic spike to the online collection. In addition, users who downloaded images spent five times as long on the site.

Preview of the Art Institute of Chicago’s library and check out the free-to-download images for yourself here.


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