Free images from Art Institute of Chicago

It’s always nice to be able to brighten up a presentation or document with a beautiful image.  So it’s good to hear of another source of amazing pictures.  The Art Institute of Chicago is now offering unrestricted access to thousands of images from its digital archive. The images have been made available under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.


A CC0 licence means that you can: copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking for permission. There is no legal requirement that you attribute the image, only an expectation that you will voluntarily do so if requested.


On the Institute’s web site look out for ‘CC0’ at the lower left of the artwork. You can also filter searches to images in the Public Domain:


The museum requests that you include the following caption if you use an image: Artist. Title, Date. The Art Institute of Chicago.


Other sites for images that I’ve found useful are:

The Museum hopes that you will include a citation. All the information necessary for proper citation is available on the Collection page for that object.

An example credit is: “The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,” followed by the specific information identified as the “Credit Line” on the Collection page for each work of art. The citation could also include the URL

  • Unsplash is an enormous library of photos with thousands more being added each day


  • Pixabay is a huge library of free images.  Includes photos, illustrations and graphic. Many of the images are CC0



Clare Allan

Senior Research Librarian

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