Bridgeman launches online gallery to help advertisers and picture editors convey sensitive subjects through fine art

  • Pre-selected 'Conceptual' images cover issues such as intolerance, globalisation and spirituality
  • Ensures creative marketers, designers and picture editors can rapidly choose powerful, non-clichéd images
  • View all images at

LONDON - 10 April 2008 - The Bridgeman Art Library, the renowned fine art image library, has launched an online Conceptual Image Gallery to enable advertisers and picture editors to convey sensitive and difficult subjects through fine art images. The site brings together hundreds of pre-selected images across twelve key topic areas including tolerance and intolerance, despair and environmental awareness. For the first time, image users can rapidly select powerful, non-clichéd images for their commercial use - which might be an advertising campaign or an illustration for a magazine or newspaper editorial - rather than having to use in-house artists or stock photography.

The Bridgeman Art Library has launched the Conceptual Gallery following an increased demand from creative marketers for images that depict sensitive - and sometimes taboo - issues and ideas. Recently, Bridgeman has supplied images to designers producing advertisements for pharmaceutical companies promoting obesity drugs, and medical publications writing about palliative care or geriatric medicine. Using a work of art depicting or hinting at the predicament removes the viewer one step from reality yet still gets across the message. To show a photograph of a sad, overweight person or a fallen elderly person can, on the other hand, be seen as distasteful or insensitive.

Harriet Bridgeman, Chairman of The Bridgeman Art Library said: "How do designers find images that evoke just the right sentiment? How does a magazine picture desk editor illustrate an article on globalisation or global warming with impact? All too often nowadays, companies resort to general stock photography using the same resources. This combination leads to a dumbing-down of the message when it could be so much more evocative, relevant and penetrating when carefully selected by an art historian and using creative art images which can enhance the message and meaning.

"A painting or historical image has the ability to convey a tricky message or indeed society's taboo subjects which might be too harsh using mainstream photography with everyday subjects. An artwork - even just because it is conveyed in a different medium - will stand out on a page and attract attention; it raises the bar quality-wise and can suggest so much more. Most of our art historians have two Degrees in the humanities - typically art history - and can interrogate our visual resources with sensitivity and intelligence. They regularly keep selections of poignant images they come across that enter the library and because of the types of searches requested by our clients across over ten market sectors, they have a rich seam of material for designers to draw upon," Harriet Bridgeman added.

Current Categories are:

  • Honesty/Dishonesty
  • Justice/Injustice
  • Strength/Weakness
  • Environmental
  • Rights & Responsibilities
  • Happiness/Despair
  • Spirituality
  • Astrology

*All images on the Conceptual Image site are low resolution scanned and will require clearance before they are used on a commercial basis

About The Bridgeman Art Library (BAL)
Established for 35 years and with four international offices, The Bridgeman Art Library is the world's leading source of fine art, history and culture with some 300,000 images available on-line, plus 750,000 historical photographs, from 8000 locations. It represents museums, galleries and artists throughout the world by providing a central source of fine art for image users.

BAL also develops educational resource packages, publishes art catalogues, offers copyright advice, licenses reproduction rights and provides sales services. The organisation has a long history of feeding monies back into museums, with figures of up to £1.5 million per year. For more information, please visit

Alison Smith
The PressOffice - PR for Bridgeman Art Library
Tel: 01780 721 433

Annabel O'Connor-Fenton
Marketing Executive, Bridgeman Art Library
Tel: 020 7096 1963

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