I’m an art nerd. If you ever want to see me get stupidly excited, start a conversation about Japanese prints or Near Eastern archaeology. Unfortunately for me, finding great books about art can be difficult.
Oh, the books exist. Museum gift shops and college libraries are full of them after all. But they also tend to be hideously expensive. Those glossy images and thick pages add up, and my bank account whimpers every time it sees the prices for them. Luckily the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have both begun to make art related books freely available.
The Guggenheim’s digital archive currently contains 204 books on Lichtenstein, Picasso, Kandinsky, and others. The Met has made a somewhat larger collection available; you can read any of 502 books from their MetPublications digital collection online. The books span the breadth of human history from Carvaggio and Vermeer to Chinese calligraphy and Mughal art to Christian Dior.
These online collections are a great supplement to local libraries and contain some brilliant writing and beautiful images. (They are also wonderful resources for anyone writing a historical novel or something set in a time and place with very different aesthetics than the modern era.)