20+ of the best free online resources from art institutions around the world

by Kelly Richman-Abdou

Central photo: The British Museum Photo: Anna Levan via Shutterstock

Today, more and more art institutions are sharing their permanent collections online. Intended to increase visibility and promote accessibility, digitization projects are a great way for museums and libraries to attract modern audiences.

For years, many organizations have offered images of their objects at no cost to users. More recently, however, the digitization trend has culminated in an even wider selection of free online materials, from downloadable art history books to virtual exhibitions.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of the best free online art resources. With this curated collection, you can take a state-of-the-art tour of the world’s best art institutions with the simple click of a mouse.

Images from Museum Collections:

Public domain images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Dutch masterpieces from the Rijks Museum

Modern paintings from the  Barnes Collection

Ancient to contemporary art from LACMA

Modern art from the Guggenheim

Artists’ materials from the Tate

Coloring Sheets from the Color Our Collections project

Open access images from the National Gallery of Art

Free Downloadable Art Free Art Books Free Online Art Resources

Vincent Van Gogh, ‘Self-Portrait’ (1889) (Photo: The National Gallery of Art)

Library Highlights:

M.C. Escher prints from the Boston Public Library

Botanical Illustrations from the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Library of Congress

Belle Epoque Posters from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design Library

Illuminated Manuscripts from the British Library

Free Downloadable Art Free Art Books Free Online Art Resources

‘The Miscellany of Iskander Sultan’ (Photo: The British Library)

E-book Repositories

Art history books and catalogs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries

Modern art books from The Guggenheim

Art history publications from the Getty Research Portal

Art books from the Getty Museum

Full-text art books from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Virtual Tours and Exhibitions:

Virtual Tour of the the Uffizi Gallery

Interactive exhibits from MoMA

Online exhibits from the British Museum

Faces of Frida from Google Arts and Culture