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Frequently Asked Questions: Image and Data Resources

See the frequently asked questions about acquiring and using Museum images under the Open Access policy.

How can I identify images designated as Open Access on The Met's website?

Look for the Open Access icon, at the lower left of the image:

How do I download images that are designated as Open Access?

Click the download icon at the lower right of an image and save it to your desktop or device:

What does "public domain" mean?

A work is in the public domain if it is not protected by copyright.

A work in the public domain may be ineligible for protection, its protection may have expired, or it may have been placed in the public domain by its creator. Works in the public domain may be freely used without permission of the former copyright holder.

Other third-party rights, such as trademarks, patents, or the rights of publicity or privacy, may apply to a work in the public domain.

Consult the U.S. Copyright Office, Cornell University, and Creative Commons Zero (CC0) for additional information on copyright and public-domain terms and definitions.

What is Creative Commons Zero (CC0)?

Copyright and other laws throughout the world automatically extend copyright protection to works of authorship, software, and database content. Creative Commons Zero (CC0) gives those who want to give up those rights a way to do so, to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Once the creator or a subsequent owner of a work applies the CC0 license to a work, the work is no longer his or hers in any restrictive sense under copyright law and is instead considered to be in the public domain. Anyone can use the work in any way and for any purpose, including commercial purposes, subject to other laws and the rights others may have in the work or how the work is used. Think of CC0 as a "no rights reserved" option.

CC0 does not affect the patent or trademark rights of any person affected by CC0, or the rights that other persons may have in the work, such as publicity or privacy rights.

What is Open Access (OA)?

The Met's Open Access program makes more than 406,000 images of public domain artworks in The Met collection available for use without restriction. Look for the Open Access icon, at the lower left of artworks on the Met's website to identify which images are Open Access.

Why have some images of artworks on The Met's website not been designated as Open Access?

Most typically, for one or more of the following reasons:

  • the work is still under copyright, or the copyright status is unclear;
  • privacy or publicity issues exist;
  • the work is not fully owned by the Museum;
  • contractual restrictions specified by the artist, donor, or lender preclude open access; or
  • the Museum has not yet produced a quality digital image of the work.

Why do some artworks on The Met's website not have any images?

In some instances, restrictions—such as copyright, privacy, or contractual agreements—may prohibit the display of an image on the website. In other instances, new photography or new scanning must be done before a digital image can be posted on the website. The Museum is continuously adding new high-quality images to the website; users are encouraged to visit the website frequently to view new image content.

What if an image I need is not available on The Met's website, or if I need a higher-resolution version of an existing image?

To request an image not available on The Met's website or a higher-resolution version of an existing image, please use the Image Request Form to contact the Museum's image-licensing partner, Art Resource. Art Resource acts as the Museum's primary partner for the worldwide fulfillment of licensing requests. As the Museum's agent, Art Resource will provide (when possible) digital images made by Museum staff. A fee will be charged depending on the nature and type of the proposed use and the availability of photography of the images requested.

All requests for new photography are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Upon approval, additional fees may apply. New photography will require a minimum of six weeks. Please note that the Museum reserves the right to deny any request at its sole discretion.

Instructions are included on the form, which goes directly to Art Resource once submitted.

Are all downloadable images of artworks on The Met's website suitable for publication?

Images on the Museum's website are made available in a range of sizes and resolutions, and represent the evolution of digital imaging standards. The Museum is continuously creating and adding new high-quality images to the website, and many of these new images will be designated as Open Access. Most Open Access images will be suitable for most types of publication. Users are responsible for making their own assessment, and are advised to do so immediately after downloading the image (especially for print publication). The following guidelines are provided to assist users in making their image assessments:

When determining the suitability of a digital image for reproduction in a print publication, there are several key factors to consider: resolution, pixel dimensions, and the intended size of the printed output. The following table provides some typical output sizes and the recommended dimensions for a publication-ready image at 150 ppi and 300 ppi—the most common resolutions for images available from the Museum's website.

Though some images available via Open Access may not meet the requirements above, this does not necessarily preclude them from publication at smaller sizes. A useful formula in determining the maximum print size of any digital image is as follows:

Note that image resolution is only a factor in determining print output. For digital purposes, the pixel dimensions of an image are the only measurements that determine display size.

May I use images designated as OA on my website or on the cover of my book?

Yes, you are welcome to use images identified by an OA icon for any purpose, including commercial and noncommercial use, free of charge and without requiring permission from the Museum.

May I use images designated as OA in a lecture, or for other educational purposes?

Yes, you are welcome to use images identified by an OA icon for any purpose, including commercial and noncommercial use, free of charge and without requiring permission from the Museum.

In addition, images of selected works of art from the Museum's collection may be licensed by educational institutions for study and presentation purposes from Scholars Resource; some educational institutions require a license agreement—contact Scholars Resource if you require a site license.

How should I cite and credit an OA image that I've downloaded from The Met's website?

OA does not require any attribution or credit, but as an educational institution, the Museum hopes that you will include a citation. All the information necessary for proper citation of a CC0 image is available on the Collection page for that object.

A sample object credit line format is as follows: "The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," followed by the specific information identified as the "Credit Line" on the Collection page for each work of art. The citation could also include the URL

You may not suggest or imply the Museum's endorsement of your publication or project, nor use the Museum's trademarks without permission. Consult the Terms and Conditions page for additional information.

Can I use a detail of an OA image in my publication?

Yes, but it would helpful to identify the image as a detail in the accompanying image caption or credit.

Can I manipulate the OA image downloaded for use in my publication?

Manipulation to further ideas presented in your project is permitted.

What if my publisher or institution requires a license or written confirmation that I may use an OA image in my publication?

Separate or individual license agreements will not be issued for works designated as Open Access (OA). Please consult the Terms and Conditions. If a license is required, contact Art Resource or Scholars Resource and request the image for a fee.

If I previously licensed an image that is now available under Open Access (OA), do I need to request permission to reuse the previous image?

Please download the Open Access (OA) image from The Met's website for use according to the current Terms and Conditions. To reuse the original image, contact Art Resource at

Do I need to send a gratis copy of the publication in which I have used an OA image?

The Museum would very much appreciate receiving a gratis copy of your publication reproducing OA images, but it is not required. Print copies can be mailed to:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Thomas J. Watson Library (CC0)
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028

How do I use the tags?

Thanks to the progress of the Tagging Initiative, subject keywords are now available under CC0 in both a downloadable CSV file and via The Met Collection API. This keyword dataset contains common words that provide information about the subject of the artwork and enhance the ability of search systems to retrieve content. Data identifying an artwork often includes title, artist, medium, nationality, etc. Including keywords as part of the dataset enables a richer experience for anyone using the API to search for common subject keywords across multiple geographies and time periods.