The announcement, which was made on Monday, is part of a Getty-wide move toward open content, according to James Cuno, the organization's president and chief executive officer.
Images that fall under the new unrestricted-use guidelines either belong to the Getty or are already in the public domain. Previously, the J. Paul Getty Museum made images available upon request and for a fee, with certain restrictions.
As a result of the new policy, there are now more than 4,600 images from the Getty Museum available in high-resolution format on the Getty's website for use without restriction. The images depict art objects including paintings, sculptures, photographs and various antiquities.
The Getty said it plans to release more images over time from both the museum and special collections of the Getty Research Institute.
"We're conducting a thorough review of copyright and privacy restrictions on our holdings to identify all the images we can make available," Cuno wrote in a Getty blog post that was published Monday.
A search engine for the open-content images has been created by the Getty and can be used free.