The sites below offer excellent images for research in art and art history and are especially good for illustrating a research paper or creating a class presentation. See the Web Resources tab for many other resources.
American Memory Project -- Created by the Library of Congress, American Memory is a gateway to rich primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The site offers more than 7 million digital items from more than 100 historical collections.
Art Images for College Teaching -- AICT is a personal, non-profit project of its author, art historian and visual resources curator Allan T. Kohl. AICT is intended primarily to disseminate images of art and architectural works in the public domain on a free-access, free-use basis to all levels of the educational community, as well as to the public at large. The collection focuses on ancient, medieval, and Renaissance European art and architecture.
Bridgeman Art Library -- Excellent image database containing images from over 8,000 collections and more than 29,000 artists, Bridgeman provides a central source of fine art and historical images for users. Based in London but focus is international in scope.
Visual Arts Data Service (VADS) -- A well-designed site with focus on fashion, craft, 2D design, and contemporary artists working in the UK and internationally. Repository for many specail collections in the UK.
Web Gallery of Art -- WGA is a virtual museum and searchable database of European painting and sculpture from 11th to mid-19th centuries. Content focuses on the Renaissance period, the Medieval roots of the period and its evolution to Baroque and Rococo via Mannerism. More recently Neoclassicism, Romanticism and Realism were also included.
The Visual Resources Association--a professional association of image managers--has released a Statement on the Fair Use of Images for Teaching, Research, and Study. This document decribes guidelines for students and faculty wanting to use images in a research setting.
Christian Boltanski, Reliquaire, 1990. Image courtesy of ARTstor.
Images are integral to art scholarship and greatly enhance presentations and learning on visual topics. Be sure you understand the concept of "fair use" before you use or repurpose images into your work.
Fair use is generally defined as the allowance to use copyrighted material in a fair manner without obtaining permission from the copyright holder. For educational purposes (research papers, classroom presentations, etc.) always cite the original work! This may take the form of in–text citations, a references page, an addendum to presentation, etc. If you are planning to use your work beyond the classroom (educational), on the web, for commercial (for-profit) purposes, etc., you should obtain permission from the copyright holder for all copyrighted works used in your work (including derivative uses); not obtaining permission is a violation of US copyright.
There are four factors that impact the justification for Fair Use (Section 107 of US Copyright Law).
1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes. This refers to:
Whether the work is for educational use, whether there is profit from the use of the work, whether the use is credited (cited), level of access to the work, whether the use is for criticism, commentary, or news reporting, how derivative the use of the work is.
2. The nature of the copyrighted work. This refers to:
Whether the work is published, how creative the original work is, whether the work is fiction or non-fiction.
3. Amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole. This refers to:
How much of the original work is used, how important the portion used is to the original work.
4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. This refers to:
Whether the use will impede or prevent the copyright holder from profiting from their work.
A good rule of thumb is to check a website for specific guidelines on permissions. Websites with image content that is copyrighted will usually state the parameters that they consider fair use for their content. Read this information to better understand how to cite the content you are using. Again, always cite your sources.
This page was adapted from the site on Visual Resources developed by Dan McClure and Tricia Juettemeyer at: http://sites.google.com/site/budgetvr/