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The Met's new online image section is amazing, why don't more museums do this?

New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art did something amazing on may 16 — they put hundreds of thousands of digital images of public domain works up on their website for people to download. Above you'll find Edouard Manet's painting "Boating."

And here's a little Picasso:

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This is fantastic. But it's noteworthy in part because it's sadly rare. Museums whose entire reason for being is to display cultural artifacts for the public have often been hesitant to embrace the power of the digital public domain. But one of the best things a non-profit cultural institution of any kind can do is set works free in this way.

Many more images here. Via Kottke.