Far-Flung Artworks, Side by Side Online

“Gift shops and poster stores often claim to sell “museum-quality reproductions” of important artworks. But the Amico Library, an Internet archive with digital copies of more than 100,000 paintings, sculptures and photographs, can use the phrase without fear of contradiction. The online library is the result of an unusual collaboration of 39 museums, from goliaths like the Metropolitan Museum of Art to smaller institutions like the Newark Museum, that supply the library with images far more vivid and detailed than those typically found on the Web.”

“As members of the Art Museum Image Consortium, or Amico, the museums are responsible for stocking the library with high-resolution digital duplicates of artworks from their permanent collections. Although anyone visiting the library’s site (www.amico.org) can search a database of thumbnail-size images and brief catalog descriptions, only educational subscribers have access to larger, more detailed images and the most up-to-date curatorial documentation. Some images are even accompanied by explanatory audio or video clips.” (from The New York Times)