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Along Comes Wikipaintings: A New Image Bank

Given the news — and excitement — about the expansion of the Google Art Project this week, I thought I’d mention another, related venture. It’s different but shares some of the same goals. It’s Wikipaintings.  

It’s a non-profit, like Wikipedia, and it’s trying to become the “most complete and well-structured online repository of fine art. We hope to make classical art a little more accessible and comprehensible, and also want to provide a new form of interaction between contemporary artists and their audience. In the future we plan to cover the entire history of art — from cave artworks to the new talents of today.”

The people behind Wikipaintings don’t identify themselves, but I think the project is based — or was started — in Russia, based on the most-viewed artists and the selections. Then again, that changes — when I looked just now, there didn’t seem to be a Russian bias. Whoever the founders are, they created a Facebook page on April 8, 2011, so I’d guess it started about that time. Here’s what they say in “About.”

I’ve explored a little — searching artists by name, movement, century, etc. Visitors can also search by art work — style, genre, technique, etc. But I haven’t spend enough time to know how useful Wikipaintings will be or how it stacks up against all the other art image banks. 

So I will refer you to someone who has: Wikipaintings was briefly reviewed, favorably, by a blog on The Teaching Palette last November, by one Theresa McGee, who compared it to the Google Art Project:

I still love Google Art Project for the amazing depth and detail, but Wikipaintings is much better for understanding and visualizing the growth of an artist through his or her lifetime.  I look forward to seeing how Wikipaintings grows once it is open to contributors; maybe it will even expand beyond 2-D work into sculpture and installation art.

And it’s still in beta.

Photo Credit: Magritte’s Listening Room, drawn from the Wikipaintings site



  1. Lawrence Humphrey says:

    Hi Judith,

    I came across the strangest mistake on WikiPaintings today–Holbein’s portrait of the Duke of Lorraine is credited to the great Polish painter Jan Matejko!

    Couldn’t find WikiPaintings e-mail address to inform them.


    Lawrence Humphrey
    Torrelles, Spain

  2. Kate Nerush says:

    Many thanks for review, one detail though – they are actually Ukrainian project 🙂

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