Image sharing

Technical image sharing for computational art history

In collaboration with a number of museums and Professor C. Richard Johnson, Jr. of Cornell University, the RKD provides access to high resolution images of works of art to stimulate research and teaching in computer-assisted analysis of canvas and paper used as supports for fine art. The image collections can be used by professors and students of engineering, computer science and applied mathematics to develop image processing applications and visualization tools. Moreover, the images are useful for teaching in conservation and technical art history.

Image collections

X-rays of paintings on canvas

For research and teaching in canvas thread counting and roll mate identification. Includes 4 X-radiographs of paintings by Vermeer from the Rijksmuseum and 6 X-radiographs of paintings by Van Gogh from the Van Gogh Museum. 2.26 GB

Beta-radiographs of prints on paper

For research and teaching in laid paper examination and mold mate identification. Includes 129 beta-radiographs of prints by Rembrandt from the Morgan Library & Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1.63 GB

The image collections can be downloaded on request (see below). They are intended for scholarly, non-commercial use only. Use of the images is subject to the following terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions

  • Commercial use of the images is prohibited.
  • Image sets cannot be re-distributed.
  • The RKD must remain the only source for the images to insure that each user agrees to these terms and conditions.
  • Copyright to the images is retained by the individual contributors (as indicated in the file properties).
  • Permission requests for presentation and publication of images from the sets offered here should be sent to
  • Permission requests should include the title of the presentation / publication and a list of authors and affiliations.
  • Scholarly research, publication and presentation are encouraged and no valid request will be denied.

Access to the images

If you would like access to the images and agree to the above terms, email The email should include your name and affiliation, the image collection you would like to get access to, plus a one sentence summary of your intended use. Requests by students should include a separate emailed endorsement from a faculty/research supervisor. For a group of students, the faculty/research supervisor should send one request and list the names and email ids of all proposed student users. The images would be provided with associated metadata and an introductory text on how to use them.

With thanks to:

  • Prof. C. Richard Johnson, Jr. (Cornell University, Ithaca)
  • Prof. Rob Erdmann (University of Arizona), for stitching individual digitized X-ray films into a composite
  • Prof. W. A. Sethares (University of Wisconsin) for developing the cdfs providing computer-assisted thread counting/marking, tiling the canvas x-radiograph tiffs, and preparing the beta-radiograph tiffs.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art [Nadine Orenstein, Marjorie Shelley, George Goldner, Francesca Cardello and Elizabeth Eisenberg]
  • Van Gogh Museum [Louis van Tilborgh, Ella Hendriks and Teio Meedendorp]
  • Morgan Library & Museum [Margaret Holben Ellis and Reba Snyder]
  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam [Robert van Langh, Gregor Weber, Ige Verslype, Gwen Tauber, Erik Hinterding and Arie Wallert]