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A Momentary Flow

Evolving Worldviews

The National Gallery Makes 25,000 Images of Artwork Freely Available Online
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No surprise that in “Masterworks for One and All,” an article about how museums have begun to offer free, high-quality downloadable images of works from their collections, the New York Times’ Nina Siegal brings up Walter Benjamin. The preoccupations of the philosopher behind “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” may seem more relevant than ever in these days of not just mechanical reproduction, but universal, developed-world ownership of the means of mechanical reproduction — and nearly instantaneous, effortless mechanical reproduction at that. Many rights-holders, including certain museums, have effectively decided that if you can’t beat the mechanical reproducers, join ‘em. “With the Internet, it’s so difficult to control your copyright or use of images,” Siegal quotes the Rijksmuseum’s director of collections as saying. “We decided we’d rather people use a very good high-resolution image of [Vermeer’s] ‘Milkmaid’ from the Rijksmuseum rather than using a very bad reproduction.” (See our previous post: The Rijksmuseum Puts 125,000 Dutch Masterpieces Online, and Lets You Remix Its Art.) (via The National Gallery Makes 25,000 Images of Artwork Freely Available Online | Open Culture)

The National Gallery Makes 25,000 Images of Artwork Freely Available Online

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No surprise that in “Masterworks for One and All,” an article about how museums have begun to offer free, high-quality downloadable images of works from their collections, the New York Times’ Nina Siegal brings up Walter Benjamin. The preoccupations of the philosopher behind “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” may seem more relevant than ever in these days of not just mechanical reproduction, but universal, developed-world ownership of the means of mechanical reproduction — and nearly instantaneous, effortless mechanical reproduction at that. Many rights-holders, including certain museums, have effectively decided that if you can’t beat the mechanical reproducers, join ‘em. “With the Internet, it’s so difficult to control your copyright or use of images,” Siegal quotes the Rijksmuseum’s director of collections as saying. “We decided we’d rather people use a very good high-resolution image of [Vermeer’s] ‘Milkmaid’ from the Rijksmuseum rather than using a very bad reproduction.” (See our previous post: The Rijksmuseum Puts 125,000 Dutch Masterpieces Online, and Lets You Remix Its Art.) (via The National Gallery Makes 25,000 Images of Artwork Freely Available Online | Open Culture)

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