The follow resources have collections that fall under a number of categories and would be especially useful for use in an art history survey course.


Mark Harden's "Artchive" contains images of many essential works of art covered in any survey course. You won't find many obscure artists or rare works here, but if you need a high-quality reproduction of one of the essentials this is an excellent resource. The site is easy to navigate by the alphabetical listing of all the artists and periods/styles on the left of the screen. Each entry has some text and a list of images towards the bottom. See image use guidelines (last link at bottom of page).


The Athenaeum is a huge collection of images and is growing rapidly. Images can be submitted by anyone, which means faster growth but possible copyright violations. Most images have information about the work owner (usually museums) on their information page, so it's best to contact the owner if there is any confusing about copyright. Images can be searched by artist, tag, or museum.

CGFA-A Virtual Museum

Created by Carol Gerten-Jackson, the CGFA is a fair sized collection of digital images from both well-known and lesser-known Western artists. The site is searchable via a Google search bar, and is indexed by artist, nationality, and time period to enable browsing. Image quality is decent, although some images are better than others. The site was last updated in 2010.

David Rumsey Collections

With the David Rumsey Collections, one can explore over over 300,000 images from over 50 collections. To find images, click on the tab at the top of the page that is most appropriate for what you are looking for (cartography, fine arts, architecture, photography, other). One may also choose to select all. From there, a list of the collections available will appear, with a description of each. Once a collection is selected, click on "insight browser." It is important to make sure that popups are allowed for this site. This can be done through the preferences option in your browser menu. Most of the image collections are free, however, ones that require subscription are noted. Otherwise, the images are available for personal and educational use. The collections are available on the Luna Insight platform, and the images are easily searchable and are of fantastic quality. No browsing feature is available.

Davis Museum

The Davis Museum and Cultural Center is committed to making information about its collections widely accessible. The Museum has created a searchable online collections database for students, faculty, and staff on-campus. This database will be accessible to off-campus constituents in the fall of 2007.

Digital Imaging Project

The Digital Imaging Project hosts images of sculpture and architecture from prehistoric to most-modern times. The images are organized by location and there are many featured collections with detailed photographs of buildings and sculptures from various angles. See image use guidelines.


Flickr is a personal photo hosting site, and many of its features make it a useful resource for art history teachers and students. A simple search of "Rome" brings up over 600,000 results, many of which are photographs of the city that include major works of art and architecture. The number of results can be overwhelming, but there are ways to sift through and pick out useful photos from the thousands. For example, after doing a “Rome” search, one can click on the tab above the images that says “most interesting”, which will bring to the top of the search results those photos that have been added to most people’s favorites list and also have the most comments-- two general indications that the image is of good quality. You can also search for specific works: “Pantheon” brings up over 30,000 photographs of the building from every imaginable view and angle. Another way to find images is to explore the Flickr groups, which are collections of photographs taken by various photographers that all fit into a certain category. For example, there are Flickr groups for Medieval Art and Architecture, Decorative Arts, etc. Some teachers have even created their own Flickr groups and pulled together images used for their class and there are also Flickr groups for specific museums, like the Dallas Museum of Art, the Musée d'Orsay, and the British Museum, which show images of the building as well as items in the collection. Flickr's collection of architecture, sculpture and city scenes is much stronger than it's collection of paintings and drawings, but with the right amount of searching almost anything be found. See image use guidelines. Copyright protection varies by photographer. A very popular protection on the site is the Creative Commons license, which allows anyone to use, distribute, and change the photograph as long as attribution is given to the creator. To the right of each photograph the copyright information is displayed.


The Getty Foundation provides support to institutions and individuals in Los Angeles and throughout the world, funding a diverse range of projects that promote the understanding and conservation of the visual arts. The website includes images of many work in their collection that can be browsed by artist, type of art, or subject. Use of Getty images is allowed for purposes that fall within fair use (see full image use guidelines).

Historic Illustrations

The Historic Illustrations of Art and Architecture Project contains 351 scans of late 19th to early 20th century illustrations of mostly architecture and some art. The collection can be searched, browsed, or you can view the entire collection at once. All the image are open to use by the public.


"The mission of HumanitiesWeb is to build a humanities site that will show the interconnections, the web, the links, between history, the arts, and culture - and how each plays off and influences the others." The Art Gallery contains information on the arts sorted by time period, artist, nationality, topics, themes, as well as a glossary. Many articles and biographies are included to compliment the visual images. The images are accessible by first finding an artist page, and then using the menu to the left and clicking on selected works. Many large, high quality images are available, although some are better than others. This site is excellent for browsing, although it is searchable through a Google search box.

Metropolitan Museum

The Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts 6,500 images of works from their permanent collection on their website. The images are divided into collections by theme, time period, and geography, and there is also a search feature that can be used to locate a specific work. The images may be used in unaltered form for non-commercial educational purposes, as long as the artist and museum website address are cited.


The Museum of Modern Art (New York) has many images of pieces in their collection on view through their website. The images can be browsed by type or searched using an advanced search feature. Images are free to use for educational use as long as users meet fair use requirements. See full image use policy.

Museum of Fine Arts

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has digital images of over 300,000 pieces from their collection available on their website. The collection can be browsed, searched, or viewed through interactive tours. A feature called MyMFA allows you to bookmark images to a free account for future use. Images from the website are free to use for educational purposes. See image use policy.

National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Sophisticated searching and browsing features are some of the highlights of this site, which also include podcasts, slide shows, and other media rich features. Resources devoted to Modern and Contemporary painting and sculpture are found here. The National Gallery offers their online collection for personal, educational, and non-commercial uses only.

NYPL Digital Gallery

The New York Public Library Digital Gallery provides access to over 550,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the collections of The New York Public Library, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more. Most of the works are in the public domain and the photographs provided can be used for educational purposes, though a fee is required for using the images for commercial use.

Olga's Gallery

Olga's Gallery is collection of over 12,000 images of works of art from around the world and it was created by a family whose original purpose was to teach art history to children. The works can be browsed using the artist index,
country index, or movement index. Most artist pages include a brief biography as well as a list of images with thumbnails. The image quality is varied and some of images have not been color corrected. When using an image from this site, it is requested that credit be given, including the URL of the website. See image use guidelines.

Orazio Centaro's Art Images on the Web (OCAIW)

OCAIW consists of a catalog of the great masters works, divided into painters, sculptors, architects, and photographers. Selected themes are highlighted as well, such as nudes in art history, works by Degas, artists working with mediums other than the four previously listed, and great works in photography. The site contains a huge number of decent quality images, as well as links to more images from other online galleries. No data is included with the images from OCAIW, except for the date. The catalog is both searchable and browsable by artist, title, and museum. The site also includes links to art news sites and museums and galleries around the world. Orazio Centaro, the owner of the site, has done his best to make sure that these images are available for the public, although it is best to check the copyright policy for each gallery that one may be directed to.

SILS Art Image Browser

The Art Image Browser is the result of a study carried out the University of Michigan's School of Library and Information Science. Associate Dean C. Olivia Frost and Associate Professor Karen Drabenstott, with an assembled research team, intend to investigate new ways of providing intellectual access to images in electronic databases with this research. Included are four collections: the University of Michigan Art Museum, Kelsey Museum of Archeology, the slide and photograph collection from the Art History Department, and a private photo collection of Los Angeles Chicano Murals, from Susan Atkins. Although the database is limited to the images that these four collections contain, this site is a valuable resource and provide many high quality images. The database is both searchable and browsable through many fields such as artist, title, nationality, data, medium, and others.

Web Gallery of Art

The Web Gallery of Art is a virtual museum of European painting and sculpture from the 12th to mid-19th centuries. The database can be browsed by artist or searched by culture, period, date, or type of art. The website also features guided tours, postcard service (click on "postcards" on the top banner), and a ten-image random sampling of the collection.


The Webmuseum hosts images of artworks from the Medieval period to the 20th century, and also includes a Japanese Art section. The best way to use the site is the artist browse, as long as you know the name of the artist you're searching. The browse features tend to bring up a lot of text and only a handful of links to images. See image use guidelines.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons is a huge media repository maintained by volunteers. The website has hundreds of thousands of files of images, sounds, and videos for many disciplines. The Art section allows you to browse images from various access points, such as country, culture, genre, period, artist, collectors, etc. Navigation through the various links of the site can be time-consuming, so if you are searching for a specific artwork or artist it would be best to use the search feature (since images are hidden until you get to the most specific category). All of the media files on the site are supposed to be available for educational use-- the specific license conditions of each file can be found on their description pages.

World Architecture

The World Architectural History Survey is a collection of architecture photographs from prehistory to contemporary times. The project was created at Bryn Mawr College and the images are to be used for non-profit educational purposes. The site is easy to navigate and most of the images are accessible just one click away from the front page.

World Images Kiosk

The World Images Kiosk is a collection of over 50,000 images hosted by California State University. The collection is very multi-cultural and it's a great resource for non-western art, which can often be difficult to find online in English. All images may be used freely for educational purposes.