Rijksmuseum art director Taco Dibbits (great name) on the initiative to make the museum’s artwork downloadable:
“I don’t think anyone thinks we’ve cheapened the image of the ‘Mona Lisa.’ People have gotten past that, and they still want to go to the Louvre to see the real thing. It’s a new, 21st-century way of respecting images.”
You can’t control digital objects so you might as well make them available for free as high quality downloads.
Art mages, like music, are easily transferable and manipulable. There’s no stopping anyone from creating their own mashup and redistributing online, as long as they give you credit.
Let the images do the marketing and drive the real life experience. That’s the magic of Pinterest.