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Macdonald-Kelce Library

Art, Design, and Art History

A guide for students researching the areas of fine art, art history, design, digital arts, and architecture

Night cat, Rafael Zabaleta Fuentes, 1956


Image Databases


A list of just some of the many and growing institutional digital collections on the web. Start your image searches here.


Log into MyUTampa to access ARTstor and the Vogue Archive

See below to learn how to cite images in your paper or presentation. For more information about intellectual property rights surrounding the use of images and further digital collection resources, explore the College Art Association site.  

Painting: Night Cat, Rafael Zabaleta Fuentes, 1956 

ARTstor - ARTstor is a database of over one million digital images encompassing architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts and material culture. Save and share images, cite images easily for research, and create personal collections and presentations using OIV (Offline Image Viewer) or PowerPoint. For assistance, contact Art Librarian Leslie Vega, lvega@ut.edu

Artsy - This art platform aims to mirror music and other "recommendation" based sites through what they call the "Art Genome Project," a growing data-set of categories that connect artworks for serendipitous exploration. See where particular works of art are housed and explore the art market.

Art UK: This site enables global audiences to learn about the UK’s national art collection. It features art in every UK public collection and is a collaboration between over 3,200 British institutions.

CAA list of Free Images for Academic/Scholarly Use - Collections that students can use for academic purposes, mostly from museums. Scroll down for the website list. 

Creative Commons Search - Creative Commons offers access to search services provided by other independent organizations such as Flickr and Wikimedia Commons.

Digital Scriptorium - The Digital Scriptorium is a growing image database of medieval and renaissance manuscripts that unites scattered resources [digital archives] from many institutions into an international tool for teaching and scholarly research.

Europeana Digital Collections - Explore 58,112,930 artworks, artifacts, books, films and music from European museums, galleries, libraries and archives.

Getty's Open Content Database - The Getty makes available, without charge, all available digital images to which the Getty holds the rights or that are in the public domain to be used for any purpose. No permission is required.

Google Art Project - An aggregate of 151 art collections from museums around the world set in a dynamic user friendly platform. View or create shared personal collections for research and inspiration.

LACMA Collections - LACMA offers 20,000 high-quality unrestricted images of art from their collection, and are available for everyone to download and use freely.

Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) - All images of public-domain artworks in the MET Museum's collection are now available for free and unrestricted use.
NGA Images, National Gallery of Art - NGA Images is a repository of open access digital images of the collections of the National Gallery of Art. 29,000 images are available for non-commercial use.

New York Public Library (NYPL) Digital Collections - Free, public domain access to download and use more than 180,000 high resolution images in this collection of more than 700,000 digitized images. All are available for educational use.

Online Museum Resources on Asian Art (Columbia U) - OMuRAA identifies online visual resources having to do with Asian Art-- including collections databases, digital image libraries, archived websites of special exhibitions, online presentations of focused collections, and websites for teaching with and about art -- and indexes them in ways that are familiar to teachers and students in world history, world literature, and general art courses. 

Paris Museums: Access many images and virtual exhibits of 14 major museum in Paris.

Smithsonian Archives of American Art Image Gallery - The image gallery contains over 8,000 photographs, letters, sketches, diaries, and other documents which have been scanned and individually described. Small resolution images are available without watermark for educational use. For even more see Smithsonian Open Access.

Visual Arts Data Service (UK) - VADS is the online resource for visual arts offering a portfolio of visual art collections of over 100,000 images that are freely available and copyright cleared for use in learning, teaching and research in the UK.

Vogue Archive - The Vogue Archive includes every page of every issue of American Vogue from 1892 to 2015. Find fashion photography, advertisements, and all Vogue content here. 

Wellcome Collection - Find thousands of Creative Commons licensed images from historical library materials and museum objects to contemporary digital photographs, courtesy of the Wellcome Collection, a free museum and library in London. 

Yale Digital Commons - Search 1.5 million records in the areas of art, natural history, books, and maps, photographs, audio, video, and materials specific to the University in Yale's digital collection. Access is free. 

Bronze cat's head. Tel Basta, near Zagazig, Egypt. Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History 


How to cite images


Each style format (MLA, Chicago, APA, etc.) has it's own specific way of citing an image. When you are including an image in your paper or presentation, no matter where you got the image from, you need to cite your source as you would if you were taking a quote out of a book, article, or website. 

How to cite images in:

Chicago (search for "illustrations")

MLA (scroll down to "A Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph")

APA (there is no “official” APA citation style for paintings or other works of art, but the APA Style Blog recently addressed this question in a blog post.) 

Rule of thumb: if you are confused about formatting, make sure to include all pieces of information to the best of your ability (title, author, date, repository or database, museum/institution or other website you got the image from, copyright info)


Copyright considerations for using images in your published papers or presentations:

US Copyright Office: How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work (PDF)

Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States (Cornell Chart)

Code Of Best Practices In Fair Use In the Visual Arts

Digital Image Rights Computator (DIRC) - Developed by the Visual Resources Association, the Digital Image Rights Computator assists the user to assess the intellectual property status of a specific image documenting a work of art, a designed object, or a portion of the built environment so that the user can make informed decisions regarding the intended educational uses of that image.

Macdonald-Kelce Library - The University of Tampa - 401 W. Kennedy Blvd. - Tampa, FL 33606 - 813 257-3056 - library@ut.edu - Accessibility