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The National Gallery of Art on Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata

Edward Savage, George Washington, c. 1796, oil on canvas, Gift of Henry Prather Fletcher, 1960.3.1

The National Gallery of Art has long been committed to making its art freely available to the world through its open-access initiatives. In 2018, the Gallery began extending this commitment by working with the Wikimedia Foundation, one of the largest supporters of open knowledge and culture, to donate its collection of open-access images and data to Wikimedia platforms to support open culture, research, and education. To date, the Gallery has contributed 53,000 high-resolution images of artworks to Wikimedia Commons and 120,000 art object collection records to Wikidata.

Every image and collection record on Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata is available under a Creative Commons 0 (CC0) license. A CC0 license means that the image or records are freely available to use without restriction – no need to ask for permission – and for any purpose. As a courtesy to the Gallery, we encourage users to include the credit line: Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Wikimedia Commons presents visitors and users with a range of new and exciting ways to engage directly with the Gallery’s collection. Beyond easy viewing, downloading, and linking, anyone can use the images to enhance Wikipedia articles, such as adding portraits to biographies or illustrating historical events and concepts. Wikipedia is also available in hundreds of languages, enabling users from across the world to use the Gallery’s images in a truly global manner. Every image also comes with embedded metadata that describes the artwork.

A city skyline is silhouetted in plum purple against a vivid peach and butter-yellow sky in this horizontal landscape painting. The brilliant sky is reflected in the water below, where a boat is moored along a riverbank. The scene is loosely painted with visible brushstrokes throughout. A wedge-shaped piece of olive green could be land or a dock in the lower right corner of the composition. A few people standing near the boat tied to a pier there are loosely painted with strokes of dark green and gray. A shallowly arched bridge marches across the river in the middle distance. Two towers and a few rounded buildings of the skyline beyond are outlined against the twilight sky. The artist’s signature is partially legible in the lower left corner: “F.F. Gut H.O.T.” It was also dated “July 10, 1902” but only the y of “July” is visible.

Henry Ossawa Tanner, The Seine, c. 1902, oil on canvas, Gift of the Avalon Foundation, 1971.57.1

For more data-driven or technically-minded users, the 120,000 art object collection records on Wikidata can be queried through its SPARQL endpoint service. Gallery artwork data and open-access images can be combined with the entirety of Wikidata’s linked data records, and users can create structured data exports, maps, and a range of data visualizations.

By donating its open-access collection to Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata, the National Gallery of Art continues to make its art freely available to world-wide audiences. As new images come into the  public domain, they will be added to Wikimedia Commons. The Gallery welcomes and encourages everyone to explore, enjoy, share, use, re-use, and build with its collection on Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata.

For questions regarding the National Gallery’s Wikimedia project or its open access initiatives, please contact us

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