Free Art at the Museum
Jan 22
This post needs updating yet again! The New York Public Library has joined the club of fantastic organizations offering hi-res images for free. Stuck in the snow this weekend? Keep yourself from going stir crazy by planning projects.

re: place note: This is a repeat! Why? Per a recent post on on Colossal, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has just released 400,000 images for download. (As an aside, check out the chains in pic 4 of the Colossal post! So cool.) The post below has some ideas about using those images around the home....

Have you heard about all the free stuff they're giving away at the museum? Seriously. Free art. Want to know more?

Who wouldn't want to know more. Here's the deal: museums all over are deciding it's time to start sharing their inventory. Digitally. And these aren't just any digital images, but high resolution digital images for use in any way you can dream up.

The first place you might want to look for free art is the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, per this article in the NYT. While this may not compare to an actual trip to Amsterdam, you can surf the Rijksstudio site on your couch, in your underwear, smoking whatever it is you smoke. That's a plus. And when the mood strikes, you download a free image.

Yes, darlin', you heard that correctly - free high-res downloads of masters old and new. Because sometimes the world is a really cool place. Now, how would you like to use these works of art in your home? Well, the site gives you tips. If you're like me, perhaps you first thought, Hey, I'm well past my posters-as-art stage of life! Well, start thinking bigger, my skeptical friend. You are not limited to printing one of their 125,000 images on a poster, but please remember that posters have their place (kid's rooms, dorm rooms, first apartments, second apartments). How about printing on a canvas, on TP, on (home-made or recycled) paper to make your own notebooks, on a template for a tattoo, on a pattern to paint a car or a truck, on fabric. Could you somehow transfer an image, or a multitude of images, to a wall itself?

Jeez Louise, the fabric idea alone makes my head spin. Sheets, pillowcases, clothing, tees. For some reason, I really really like the idea of doing this on curtains and pillows. Plain drop cloths could be transformed! Print your indoor or outdoor cushions, outdoor dividers, everything with works of art. And think about it - selecting what to do with the art is just one of the hard decisions. What images should you choose? This is is probably the toughest decision! There are 125,000 pieces on the site now, but the museum is trying to add 40,000 works per year. How do you choose between Vermeer and Rembrandt? I have no idea - but what a delicious problem! (And more museums should be jumping on this insanely cool practice every year.)

For you crafty people, think of the gift-giving possibilities. Coasters (from scrap wood) imprinted with the great masters. Home-made cards (on handmade or scrap paper). Hemmed silk or linen squares (from the remnants bin) turned into scarves or hankies with The Milkmaid on them. Your friends will freak out when you give them these gifts.

Here are some sites to start exploring after you've read the tips and thoughts on the Rifksstudio site.

Transferring images with transfer paper.
Transferring images using gel medium.
Transferring images using UV light and photo fabric dye.
Transferring images onto wallpaper.

The National Gallery has loaded 25,000 images already! Decisions, decisions, decisions.
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