The “Museums of Paris” have made available to the public over 100,000 digital reproductions of works stored in urban institutions. The images can be downloaded free of charge and without restrictions. The “Musee des Parisiens” is a public organization that oversees 14 municipal institutions in the French capital, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Palais Malé, the Carnival and the Konyac-Ger.
Users can download a high-resolution (300 DPI) image file, a document detailing the selected work and a guide to best use and quote sources.
Masterpieces by famous artists such as Rembrandt, Gustave Courbet, Eugène Delacroix, Claude Monet and Antonis van Dyck, as well as other more or less famous painters are now available digitally.
Among other things, you can download a charming portrait of the French art dealer Ambroise Vollard, created by Paul Cézanne in 1899. The hero looks pretty worried after two weeks of completely immobile posing. Meanwhile, the artist – despite the time spent on the painting – has never declared it complete. Nevertheless, his “signature” color spots and bright highlights are everywhere in the work.
Of course, even the best reproduction can never be compared to watching an artwork “live”. But the high-resolution file, which can be downloaded from the “Museums of Paris” portal, allows you to get acquainted with the exquisite Cezanne strokes. And this is a great convenience for users who do not have the opportunity to visit the Small Palace, where the painting is located.
“By making these files available, we ensure that they can be freely used by anyone for any purpose without any technical, legal or financial restrictions, whether for commercial use or not,” says the press release of the Museums of Paris.
At the time of writing, more than 150 thousand 2D images of works of art were available on the Museums of Paris website.
These paintings, photographs and objects are in the public domain and licensed under CC0 (Creative Commons Zero). It implies that the museum waives all rights to the work throughout the world, and those wishing to copy, modify, distribute and perform it, even for commercial purposes, without asking for permission.
Copyrighted works will still be available as low-resolution files, so users can still view museum collections online.
Several works by Eugène Atge, a French photographer who has made a name for himself by documenting and immortalizing old Paris, are also publicly available. Among the pictures is “The Corner of the Streets of the Seine and Echaudet, 6 District, Paris” (1911), which embodies the author’s radical approach to fixing almost deserted streets. Blurring the figures of passers-by, Auger tries to convey the magic of the city itself, which has almost no people.
The “Museums of Paris” receives a large number of requests from researchers, students and teachers who want to view or use images of works from the collections of institutions. “We guarantee that they will be able to easily, continuously, freely and instantaneously use high-resolution images for their research, training or publication, thus improving their cultural mediation tools,” the press release says.
Scientists and amateurs can view on the portal the works that have shaped or shaken art history. Gustav Courbet’s Girls on the Seine (1857) depicts two young women lazily lying by the river on a hot summer day. The work, which is now part of the treasury of the Small Palace, was the subject of heated debate at the Salon de Paris in 1857. Some considered it ugly and even sensual to depict women from the working class. “This work, unique in its modern themes and atypically large format for the genre scene, has taken off,” says the accompanying text on the site of the Small Palace.
Open access works will also be included in virtual exhibitions on the website to encourage users to download and reuse.
It is worth noting that major institutions such as the Louvre or Orsay are not part of the “Museums of Paris”. To admire the treasures of these institutions, one will have to visit them in real life.