Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login
00057501 by techgnotic

J. Paul Getty - The Liberation of Masterpieces as Open Content

The J. Paul Getty Museum has initiated an Open Content Program to share, freely and without restriction, as many of the Getty’s digital resources as possible.

A first sharing of 4,600 high-resolution images of the Museum’s collection, including many masterworks, has just been made available and all are free to use, modify, and publish for any purpose.

In a brilliant stroke, the Getty Museum has liberated one of the top collections of art in the world not just for access but for use. The museum is literally “beaming up” the great works in its collection as living resources within the arts themselves, for study, for sheer personal pleasure and, remarkably, as free visual resources available to any artist or business anywhere for anything and for free!

It is a watershed moment in the evolution of the social responsibilities of organizations that collect exquisite art as a part of a public trust—the moment when the J. Paul Getty Museum and Trust, arguably housing the most influential brain-trust for the curation and preservation of art in the world, decides to trust the public, instead of just themselves, with setting the context and use of these works.

It is a classic paradox of opposites where the strongest bend and where the most power comes from never exercising it: the best preservation of the relevance of these cultural artifacts is to be found in their widespread diffusion into the general culture.

The extraordinarily special element in this release is that the paintings, drawings, manuscripts, photographs, sculptures—these monumental works of art—are now accessible in a way that even a personal trip to the museum could never provide. The files are incredible, high resolution images showing a depth and detail that only an archivist in a sealed room would have been permitted to see using a magnifying glass while wearing white fiber-free gloves (every line of crackle in the paint on a canvass from 1560). This is art released from the private vacuum of cultural elitism (so many museums actually embrace elitism as a principle and mission) and now instantly distributed to every corner of the world.

Stendhal, the French writer, went to Florence and was so overcome by the masterpieces that he had essentially a nervous breakdown. This has happened to many before and since and is a recognized syndrome. The symptoms disappear over time when the patient is removed from the art. This is an unprecedented look at art masterpieces. You could spend hours on line with a single work and only emerge days later from a collection like the Getty’s in need of room with simple white walls.

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.

Source – Open Content Program

The question some would ask provocatively is this:

Would Vincent Van Gogh openly dedicate to the public a wonderfully detailed digital file of his painting of Irises?

Of course, he’s dead so we can’t ask; and, he’s been dead so long, he never could have been asked in the right context. For example, the idea that a “better” copy than the original could be made without impacting the original in any way is hard, still, to fathom and is a part of the active, boiling revolution instigated by digital media.

Radical moves in tech are commonplace. Radical moves in museum culture almost never happen. Museums typically are conservative in all things—a pun to their primary mission of conserving cultural materials. The process of conservatorship among the “great” museums with “great” collections is full of delicate dealings not just with the objects and their care but with artists, the museums’ very wealthy patrons, local and foreign governments and collectors. Offering institutional “protection” of their works, legacies, and ”names” in big buildings that themselves become landmarks, museums strive to be symbols of sobriety, permanence, tradition, calm and studied control.

The J. Paul Getty Museum’s board of directors has gone deviant and we could not be happier!

The J. Paul Getty Museum has initiated an Open Content Program to share, freely and without restriction, as many of the Getty’s digital resources as possible. A first sharing of 4,600 high-resolution images of the Museum’s collection, including many masterworks, has just been made available and all are free to use, modify, and publish for any purpose.

Search Open Content Program here.

Writers: techgnotic
Designers: marioluevanos

For more articles like this, please visit depthRADIUS
Add a Comment:
photician Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2015
This is good news for a change. I would say that seeing the original has to be the best. I have seen William Blakes in reproduction all my life but it was not until I saw the originals at an exhibition at the Ashmolean in Oxford that I had any real idea of size and texture. I would love to refresh my memory by seeing good reproductions of them.
AlexBukshteyn Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2014
Van G'zeey... 
Dopplegager Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thats an amazing collection but I'm lost at one thing. 

" For example, the idea that a “better” copy than the original could be made without impacting the original in any way is hard, still, to fathom and is a part of the active, boiling revolution instigated by digital media."

Sorry but there won't be anything like the original. 
michaelhardcore13 Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Getanimated Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2014  Student Filmographer
damn that scrolling jazz was awesome hahah
Rhyn-Art Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2014   General Artist
A dream of an artist is to be known and remembered, now during the WW2 thousands of art were destroyed as Hitler thought they were inferior, even the Nazi's themselves were a victim to this as some were artists themselves who expressed their visions to how time was changing.. if the internet existed back then, then the chances of us saving art would be remarkably higher.. now that we have this at our fingertips, art will be harder to lose, I would personally only use them to admire and analyse as I believe that behind every piece there is a person and their vision was imprinted onto the piece, making a similar piece however is fine as you are not taking away from the original.. 

Of course we could re-create an art piece from the copy and even 3D print the canvas for texture but there will always be a way to differentiate from the original

I sat in front of Rothko's piece around 9 years ago in London, I was transfixed, It made me feel sad and everywhere became quiet and I could hear my heart beat.. I will never forget that moment .. also I remember seeing Rembrandt's self portrait, It was unsettling yet calming.. another was Guernica by Picasso ... That especially made me sad, so much suffering in one piece :(
MountNeverest Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2014
if an artist has heirs... 70 years seems fair. no heirs? i guess as long as its used with respect and no one is treated unfairly for the sake of these things ->Winner  Dollar (US) Firelite-photo (last one-destructive activism, personal accreditation, or the like p: )
Blabyloo229 Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014
This is just incredible.  It's a fantastic use of modern technology to expose people to a level of detail that they might never get otherwise.  I only wish I had a few hours to devote to looking through all of those files!
BlkHrt86 Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That was amazing. Wow.
KasperGustavsson Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014  Student Photographer
Amazing. How do you make journals like this?
Ziggy-FoxCat Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Techgnotic is a dA admin. This lets them create special "presentation" journals.

I'm pretty sure though that this is what they spend a lot of their time doing....
JM40000 Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014
Is incredibly awesome
4thofficial Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2014  Professional Interface Designer
Great piece and wonderful design (Mario ;)
jojo22 Featured By Owner Edited Oct 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Amazing, thank you Getty, for sharing humanity's treasures so that they can live on in modern art. :D
IdunaHayaPhotography Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is awesome! Thank you very much for sharing this information. I'll think about the questions you ask at the end and answer them later :)
annagalaxy Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014
aahh!ok...nice great wonderful and all that...
rodolgo Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
lluisagoberna Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
<font><font>Ho trobo genial, ja era hora!!</font></font>
graphicMADness Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Question 1: I saw a magnificent early work of Salvador Dali, in the Dali museum, in St Petersburg, FL. It was a simple still life of purple flowers. I have never seen it in a book, and there was no reproduction of any kind in the gift shop. A high resolution digital file would mean I could look at it any time I choose.

Question 2: I suppose it could lead to more fakes, or more likely the images would simply be printed on canvas.

Question 3: "A View of Toledo," by El Greco. I was in the 6th grade. My teacher was all about the arts and took us to the Metropolitan Museum of Art specifically to see this painting which was on loan to the Met. I have also seen this painting in art history books. There is no comparison to the original which is totally awe inspiring. This was my AHA moment and probably my inspriration to express myself artistically.

Question 4: I think copyright is only valuable to artists who actually make money.
ZatmenieLuny Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Hobbyist
It's a dream come true!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!
wendygoerl Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014   Traditional Artist
To answer the reader questions:
1) Probably a Rembrant or DaVince
2) Probably
3) No
4) I don't like the Copyright Act of 1978. Creating a work of art (whatever you medium) takes less effort than developing most patents, which can only be protected for--what, fourteen?--years, and trademarks have to be renewed every ten, but a few words scrawled out in twenty minutes can be protected for well over 100 years? If I can't benefit from it, I don't see why someone else (like the growing number of publishers who insist on buying "all rights") should be allowed to benefit, either. It's just a means of forcing "mediocre" (anything other than a runaway bestseller) works out of print in order to free up production capacity for the next golden goose. I say 50 years from creation is long enough.
Garret-Moore Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014
A stunning resource. The release is reasonable and highly appropriate. As an artist I applaud the careful archival of such works and to release them when they do no harm to the living artist or their families. Art need be in the public to enrichen and give beauty and wisdom to all people as the artist intended.

Art if truly art, is from deep in our souls and at least uncorrupted views of our world as interpreted by the artists and their unique and time relevant, culturally specific places. Irregardless of the monetary value of the original work, after a reasonable time I would want my own works imagery to be free to all. If at least it has any value to them.

Our history and sociocultural past is best viewed through unaligned historians. Artists to the greatest extent are the witnesses to history, and mostly abhor any limitations or ontological limits of their interpretations or unique views. So this is a better source of history than state sponsored historical record who's views and interpretations are subjective and politically aligned.

Most of all, as artists we want to create beauty that can change the minds of those locked in the sameness of the drone media. If we could survive having all we need, how many of us would continue to create art out of a sheer love and inherent need to do so as an artist. We don't do this to get rich. We do have to do something to survive, as the great artists always had to survive by working for others with their talents hopefully. The church, as Michelangelo, The government armies, Da Vinci, and so on allowed the artist a living so their own studios, overhead, supplies and finally artworks could be funded. Many times these artists were themselves holders of similar views and served the benefactors needs. But it is all highly valuable historic record in the least, and even more valuable as beauty, insight and vision.

Thanks to the thoughtful Getty people for truly valuing art for these and other reasons, and knowing it was for people of all class and creed, and not just a quantified investment to be miserly locked up for all time, unless money turns the key.

Bravo Getty Museum, and thanks Techgnotic for the heads-up!
Fundelstein Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
This is wonderful! 

Let's see:

  1. If you could pick any artwork anywhere for which you would want to have a high-resolution digital file for open use what would it be?         I'd want The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali.
    1. Will the release of these incredibly detailed files lead to increased production of faithful copies that cannot be distinguished from the original?     Maybe or maybe not. I highly doubt it though. And in the grand scheme of things, does that matter? Unless someone wanted to steal it and switch it with a perfect replica... then that would be pretty bad.
    2. What single artwork in a museum has affected you deeply like Stendhal or perhaps just changed your life or became your life’s goal as an artist?     Honestly, I haven't found something like that yet.
    3. As a living artist you might object to having others use your work, but what about when you are dead? Current copyright laws would protect your work in some countries, like the U.S. and Germany, for 70 years after your death.  Is that reasonable?    I'd want my relatives to live off the profit for a little while, so yes. 70 years is reasonable to me.
    MatzeOne Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014
    this is amazing!
    CouchyCreature Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
    Hello. I just wanted to point out that the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has also offered more than 20,000 high quality downloadable images of artworks from our encyclopedic collection which we believe to be in the public domain. In their database search, there is a checkbox option that says "select only results with unrestricted images."  Example search

    Seems a few galleries are now making this type of offer subject to specific terms and conditions on attribution.
    SnowiceFire Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2013
    Were they desperate for a contest idea?
    Air-KC Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2013  Student General Artist
    well for my part, i think this may have a good impact on many (me  included). Though not using the items that are on the paintings or sculptures etc. but it gives more options and ideas when it comes to our own personal styles, meaning adapting antique traditional media in our own personal way and expanding for new ideas when doing our creations, be it traditional or digital...
    Ca-l-gr Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
    I don't see why they needed to do this, making art in reliance with the masters seems like a bit of a cop out, make your own masterpieces dudes, but for research this is great, I agree.
    CouchyCreature Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
    Just an update. On October 15, 2013 another 5,400 images were added to the open content list -…
    francuzzo Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2013
    GRAZIE !!
    Helmut-Lampshade Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2013
    Many thanks from Russia too, for this "real-virtual" miracle !!!
    Everybody should tell at least three of his/hers friends about it.
    Spread the word and spread the culture  )))
    LOBOsuave Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
    I've always loved the Getty even as a kid. I once went with a group as a child, dressed up in some costume they had for kids at that time and got myself lost in the museum. THEE BEST!
    fantasio Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
    Although this is great news (and worht of supporting) this is not new, the Rijksmuseum came up with this idea around a year or so ago:
    Nagacharia Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013
    Incredible! Marvellous...
    psylvain07 Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013
    Art is Value.  Either personal or public.  In the near future, art will have to adapt to the media explosion as the internet availability is getting global.  There is also all those little portable device that can take photo of just about anything anywhere someone go.  That include museum, art galleries, and so on.  Selling art (all form) will become a challenge (has it is one already ) to anyone who want to live out of it.  That challenge impose two important issue; first; getting known!!!  Art that stay in your garage, have no value because no one knows about it.  Second; Showing your art without losing the right to dispose of it the way you want.  That is becoming more and more impossible.  You will soon have to sue a lot of people, sometime not even in your own country.  I think art will become 'democratic' and Getty is just 'right seeing' this fact before others.  Art will became available to everyone.  Two thumbs up for this initiative that will soon spread!!!  (As far as the artist get something back in return like 'fame', so his ORIGINAL work GET even MORE VALUE!).  It has to become a win-win situation...     
    wilsonbarbosa Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2013
    A turma cada vez mais estão tocando a tinta pra fora da mente sendo que não ha mais tela para suporta tanto talento
    Congratulations for all humanhood. That is what must be done, in order to free art all over the world.
    Menarch Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2013
    Great for all wonder Art
    Kreat3D Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2013   Digital Artist
    Thank you! :)
    justjayn Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2013  Professional General Artist
    Absolutely the BEST J Paul Getty!!
    nitheeramalingam Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2013  Student General Artist
    thanks a tonn :D
    petitchanteur Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2013
    Super, trop super, thanks a lot!
    S-Baptista-Art Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
    Nice content! ^^
    MaryannGreen Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2013
    Thay you! Great work!
    pinteamiron Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2013
    <font><font>O Initiativa FOARTE Bună.</font></font>
    <font><font>Oferă iubitorilor de arta, posibilitatea de Vedea si a se inspirație din opera unor Maestri. </font></font>
    Add a Comment:

    :icontechgnotic: More from techgnotic

    Featured in Collections

    News by Urus-28

    journals_news by PhoenixPhlox

    More from DeviantArt


    Submitted on
    September 13, 2013
    Submitted with Writer


    821 (who?)