BILDGEIST is a visual journal of scientific illustrations, illuminated manuscripts, photographs, prints and artworks from the public domain. Its topics are zoology, botany, astronomy, medicine & anatomy, cartography, alchemy & mysticism, the occult, ethnology, mythology, and art history. BILDGEIST is a personal project and not affiliated with any institutions or organizations.


What does BILDGEIST mean?
What is the “public domain”?
Is the content of this blog public domain?
What are your sources?
Who writes this blog?
How can I contribute?
Contact Form

What does BILDGEIST mean?

BILD is the German word for image (Latin: imāgō). GEIST is the German word for ghost, spirit, mind or essence. It is an important concept in philosophy, especially in Hegelian Phenomenology. In combination, the word BILDGEIST evokes the concept of Zeitgeist. It also refers to the “material ghost”, the inherent aura (see: Walter Benjamin) of an artwork that shall continue to exist in its digital derivates.

What is the Public Domain?

The public domain describes the concept of public ownership of creative works. These are usually works whose intellectual property rights have expired (Wikipedia), or works whose copyrights have been waived (e.g., licensed under the according Creative Commons license).

Depending on the country where the work has been created, copyright expires after a period of time. In the US and in most European countries, copyright expires 70 years after the creator’s death (See: List of countries’ copyright length).

Please note that translations or recordings of works (e.g., an orchestra performance of a classical music piece) can still be copyright protected!

Many libraries and archives choose to only allow personal, non-commercial and educational use of their digitized material, and ask for reproduction fees for commercial or publication projects. The official policy of the Wikipedia Foundation, however, is that faithful reproductions of public domain works (e.g., a photo or scan of a public domain work without additional editing) should be considered public domain as well.

BILDGEIST cannot be held responsible for your usage of the images. Please research thoroughly and contact the respective institutions, especially if you plan to use an image commercially. Links to licenses and original sources are provided in every blog post. Please contact me if you suspect a copyright violation on this blog.

Is the content of this blog public domain?

For the images posted on this blog, please refer to the according blog post to learn about the specific license of the images. All unquoted text on BILDGEIST.com is published as CC BY-SA 4.0. BILDGEIST.com is a WordPress based blog and uses the Zuki Theme by Elmastudio (GNU General Public License).

What are your sources?

Many institutions worldwide, especially museums and libraries, have made an effort to digitize their collections to make them available for the general public. I have listed some of them here. For a very comprehensive list, please refer to the OpenGLAM Open Collections, and also consult the Guide to Finding Interesting Public Domain Works Online by The Public Domain Review.

Who writes this blog?

Eva Elisabeth Stockinger, born in Austria in 1983. Studied Cultural Anthropology and Film, Theater and Media Studies at the University of Vienna and Humboldt University Berlin. Previously worked as a curatorial assistant in contemporary art and as a producer for an online magazine. Has lived in Vienna, Brooklyn (NY) and Berlin and is currently based in Indonesia.

How can I contribute?

For content suggestions, please contact me. If you enjoy this blog and appreciate the countless hours of work put into it, do consider a small donation, a purchase at the store, or buy a book using the BILDGEIST RECOMMENDS Links (Amazon Affiliate) in the right sidebar.

BILDGEIST does not receiving any funding and is not affiliated with any institutions. Your contribution is highly appreciated. Thank you!

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