collections

Highlights from The Cleveland Museum of Art’s release of more than 30k images of public domain works

Maharana Jagat Singh
Maharana Jagat Singh dressed as a Bhil, hunting deer at night (c. 1735-40), by India, Rajasthan, Mewar school — Source.

Last week The Cleveland Museum of Art announced the release of more than 34,000 digital images of public domain works — all high resolution and totally free from restrictions on reuse (using the Creative Commons Zero designation). Founded in 1913, the museum is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes more than 61,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. Here we’ve picked out some of our favourites from a few hours browsing the public domain collection (which didn’t get through nearly half of what is on offer). In addition to images of 2D media we’ve also included at the end a smattering of objects, including a wonderful array of masks.

You can get exploring yourself by visiting their online collection, which has itself seen a very slick revamp to coincide with this open content release.

Odilon Redon orpheus
Orpheus (c. 1903-1910), by Odilon Redon — Source.

Prophet Daniel michelangelo
Study for the Nude Youth over the Prophet Daniel (recto) (1510-1511), by Michelangelo Buonarroti — Source.

Tahiti Gauguin
Tahitian Series: Worship (19th century), by Paul Gauguin — Source.

The Race Track Death on a Pale Horse
The Race Track (Death on a Pale Horse) (c. 1896-1908), by Albert Pinkham Ryder — Source.

Arm of Eve Dürer
Arm of Eve (1507), by Albrecht Dürer — Source. The only surviving preparatory drawing for Dürer’s life-size panels of Adam and Eve in the Museo del Prado, Madrid.

Dragon and Tiger
Dragon and Tiger (1500s), by Sesson Shūkei — Source.

Hunting cranach
Hunting near Hartenfels Castle (1540), by Lucas Cranach — Source.

Chrysanthemums
Chrysanthemums by a Stream (late 1700s-early 1800s), by follower of Ogata Korin — Source.

Women bathing
Women bathing before an architectural panorama (c. 1765), by Fayzullah — Source.

Toys
Two Children with Toys (c. 1855), by Unknown — Source.

Eunuch's Dream
A Eunuch’s Dream (1874), by Jean Lecomte du Nouÿ — Source.

Nathaniel Olds
Nathaniel Olds (1837), by Jeptha Homer Wade — Source.

Demon
Demon in chains (c. 1453), by style of Muhammad Siya Qalam — Source.

Card Rack with a Jack of Hearts
Card Rack with a Jack of Hearts (c. 1895), by John F. Peto — Source.

Battle of the Nudes
Battle of the Nudes (1470s-1480s), by Antonio del Pollaiuolo — Source.

Bewitched Groom
The Bewitched Groom (1544-45), by Hans Baldung — Source.

Tiger and a Buffalo Rousseau
Fight between a Tiger and a Buffalo (1908), by Henri Rousseau — Source.

Juan Maria Osorio
Portrait of Juan Maria Osorio (c. 1786), by Agustín Esteve y Marques — Source.

Peacock-shaped Hand Washing Device
Peacock-shaped Hand Washing Device, an illustration from The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices (Automata) of Inb al-Razza al-Jazari (1315) — Source.

Shamsa
Shamsa, recto of the right folio from a double-page frontispiece of a Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Firdausi (940–1019 or 1025) (c. 1444) — Source. The shamsa, or sunburst, is an exquisite symmetrical pattern of floral and geometric shapes painted in precious pigments and gold to reference divine light.

Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons turner
The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, 16 October 1834 (1835), by Joseph Mallord William Turner — Source.

Orchid Blossoms
Orchid Blossoms (1873), by Martin Johnson Heade — Source.

Helmet Mask
Helmet Mask (late 1800s-early 1900s), from Central Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Suku people — Source. Suku helmet masks are often used in initiation ceremonies for young men in the society. The masks intend to protect the reproductive abilities of newly initiated males. Helmet masks such as this represent images of deceased elders in the society. They are believed to ensure successful hunting, help cure illnesses, and protect its wearer from evil. The handle was originally hidden by a fringe of raffia fibers. The gazelle or antelope shape is typically associated with folktales, proverbs, and personal hunting exploits.

Anthropomorph
Anthropomorph (c. 1500 – 1000 BC), from India, Bronze Age — Source. Among the few works of art known from the first millennium BC in India, anthropomorphs such as this fine example have an abstract formal appeal, but their meaning and function remain mysterious.

Oculate Being Mask
Oculate Being Mask (300 BC-AD 1), from Peru, South Coast, Paracas (Cavernas) style (700 BC-AD1), 300 B.C. to A.D. 1 — Source. This rare mask incarnates a supernatural being who may have been the patron of an early fertility cult on Peru’s south coast. Its traits insinuate power, especially the stuck-out tongue and the serpents that slither over the face to form a halo-like corona. Unexplained are the shape of the nose and the small figure wearing a similar mask. The mask could have served as the face of a mummy bundle or an object; the projecting eyes might rule out use by a living performer.

Dancing Satyr
Dancing Satyr (500-475 BC), from Greece, Boeotia — Source.

Face Mask
Face Mask (late 1800s-early 1900s), from Guinea Coast, Ivory Coast, Baule — Source. This kple kple mask belongs to the first of four pairs of masks that entertain as part of a performance sequence in the goli dance. The male in each pair dances first. The masks are worn by young boys in a rapid stamping dance. The head of the male kple kple is painted red, whereas the female, like this example, is colored black.

Fishing Canoe Prow
Fishing Canoe Prow (1800s), from Polynesia, New Zealand, Maori people — Source. The swirls and spirals covering the face on this canoe prow replicate traditional facial tattoo patterns. Similar designs were used for post and gable figures that adorned both dwellings and compounds.

Bear-Woman Vessel
“Bear-Woman” Vessel (c. 1200-1000 BC), from Marlik, northwest Iran — Source.

Funerary Mask
Funerary Mask (1200-1500), from Peru, South Coast, Chicha-Ica Valley area — Source.