The best places to find high-resolution public domain art and illustration
Finding public domain images at a good enough resolution to print can be challenging, but here’s a list of the best places to source high-quality art and illustration.
14 December 2020
- 4/3/22 – Added links to National Gallery Victoria, National Agricultrural Library Digital Collections, and Library of Congress WPA Posters collection.
Publications and blogs
These sites collect the best public domain images and make them available as curated collections, often retouching and cleaning them up in the process. Recommended if you don’t fancy wading through millions of images yourself.
Artvee – Thousands of freely downloadable public domain artworks.
RawPixel – Free and premium stock images, as well as an extensive collection of free, high-quality public domain artwork.
Archive.org – Vast collection of music, images, video and more. So large it’s impossible to browse – lots of the organisations listed here use Archive.org for storage, and it’s often easier to find content through them rather than going directly.
Art Institute Chicago - Over 50,000 public domain images available. Not high-resolution.
Biodiversity Heritage Library – Explore nearly 250k botanical books, documents and manuscripts.
British Library Flickr collection – Over a million free images from The British Library. Not high resolution.
Brooklyn Museum – Lots of public domain American, European and Asian art. Not high resolution.
The Cleveland Museum of Art - Nearly 37,000 public domain artworks and images.
Digital Commonwealth – Explore historical collections from libraries, museums, and archives across Massachusetts
Edinburgh University Collections – Large collection of drawings, art, photos and manuscripts.
Getty Museum – Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art from the Neolithic to Late Antiquity; European art from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century.
Glasgow School of Art – Explore artworks, architectural drawings, design work and archive material from prominent artists including Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Harvard Library – Browse the libraries and archives of Harvard University.
Iowa University Digital Library – More than a million digital objects from the university archives.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art – Thousands of high-resolution public domain art and photography.
Museum of New Zealand (Te Papa Tongarewa) – Browse 800k artworks, taonga, photographs, collection objects, and botanical and zoological specimens from Te Papa’s collections.
National Agricultural Library Digital Collections – Includes the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection, a series of over 7000 paintings of fruit and vegetables.
National Gallery of Art – Over 54,000 artworks, prints, drawings, sculptures and more. Not high resolution.
National Gallery Victoria – Over 30,000 high resolution public domain images covering Australian, Indigenous and international art, design and architecture.
NYPL Digital Collections – Explore over 900k items digitised from The New York Public Library’s collections. Many, but not all are available as high-resolution downloads.
The Rijksmuseum – The national museum of the Netherlands. Explore over 700k public domain artworks.
RSID Museum – Over 80,000 public domain art and design images.
Statens Museum for Kunst - The national gallery for Denmark, large collection of art and objects.
UMass Amherst Libraries – Large collection of rare books and manuscripts.
University of British Columbia – Explore over 240k photos, books, newspapers, maps, videos, theses and more.
Wellcome Library – Thousands of medical and health-related archives and images.
Yale University Library Digital Collections – Huge collection of images, photos, maps, documents, rare books and more.
Know of any more sources? Please do let me know.