Katsushika Hokusai, “Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami ura), also known as the Great Wave, is one of the many spectacular images being released into the public domain.

The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) recently announced the release of tens of thousands of hi-res images from their collection to the public domain. This means that high-resolution versions of numerous masterpieces are now free to access and use, including Van Gogh’s “The Bedroom,” the eerie light of Edvard Munch’s “The Girl by the Window,” or the pointillism used in George Seurat’s famous “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte — 1884.″

The works have been made available under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0), which essentially means all copyright is completely dropped for both educational and commercial purposes.

Vincent van Gogh, “The Bedroom” (1888), oil on canvas, 29 x 36 5/8 inches (image courtesy Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection).

Surprisingly enough, this release was mentioned in an announcement about AIC’s website redesign. See the collection here.

“Students, educators, and just regular art lovers might be interested to learn that we’ve released thousands of images in the public domain on the new website in an open-access format (52,438 to be exact, and growing regularly),” the announcement reads.

“This is just a teaser of all that the new site has to offer. We hope that as you forge your own path, you’ll enjoy the site and share the interesting things you discover.”

Charles White, “Harvest Talk” (1953), charcoal, Wolff’s carbon drawing pencil, and graphite, with stumping and erasing on ivory wood pulp laminate board, 661 x 992 mm (courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Hartman).

Whether you’re trying to research some of these works or you’re a budding artist, this collection can be very useful. It’s an absolute treasure trove of wonders that’s a magnificent resource available to everyone with an internet connection, so we can only applaud this initiative by AIC.

Before I leave you with a few more of these masterpieces — if you want to support the AIC and enjoy this initiative, check out their shop, which features a section of gifts inspired by this collection.

Georges Seurat, ”A Sunday on La Grande Jatte — 1884″ (1884–8), oil on canvas, 81 3/4 x 121 1/4 inches (image courtesy Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection).

Piet Mondrian, “Lozenge Composition with Yellow, Black, Blue, Red, and Gray” (1921), oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm (image gift of Edgar Kaufmann, Jr.).

David Hockney, “American Collectors (Fred and Marcia Weisman)” (1968), acrylic on canvas (courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Frederic G. Pick).

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