In 2013, representatives from 14 international institutions met at the Frick Collection to discuss the establishment of PHAROS. Photo: Michael Bodycomb

Administrators with the Frick Collection are heading an international collaboration to unlock access to 25 million images of artworks for the public.

If the Frick Collection — along with other multinational organizations — have their way, the public will soon have consolidated online access to more than 25 million images of artworks. Administrators are touting the move as transformative for art historical research, “enabling scholars and the public to study never-before-published photo archives from around the world.”

Along with the Frick, 13 other institutions have hopped on board, and they’re calling themselves the PHAROS Art Research Consortium. “Led by Inge Reist, director of the Frick’s Center for the History of Collecting and president of the international consortium, this long-term initiative will bring together photo-archive materials relating to more than 25 million works of art,” according to the group’s press materials. “These collections of images are also rich in previously unpublished related art historical documentation. Seven million images from the original partners are expected to be digitized and available by 2020, with future timelines for the group to be developed. Eventually, PHAROS will expand to include records from additional photo-archives world-wide.”

Current partners accessible at PHAROS include the Bibliotheca Hertziana (Rome), Bildarchiv Foto (Marburg, Germany), Courtauld Institute (London), Fondazione Federico Zeri (Bologna), Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles), I Tatti (Florence), Institut national d’histoire de l’art (Paris), Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), Paul Mellon Centre (London), RKD-Netherlands Institute for Art History (The Hague), Warburg Institute (London), Yale Center for British Art (New Haven), and the Frick Art Reference Library (New York).

Learn more by visiting PHAROS.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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