It boasts huge warehouses around the globe, stocking everything from bikes to books.

And now Amazon is branching into the fine art arena – and selling off original and limited edition works.

Customers can buy works of art from more than 150 prominent galleries and dealers via Amazon Art.

While many galleries and artists will undoubtedly welcome the prominence the website will bring to them, some feel that online market place’s new venture cheapens the art and compromises its integrity.

Despite the critics, the site is sure to get a lot of attention from budding art collectors, as around 80 million visitors look at the marketplace every month, it was reported in December.

The announcement came on Tuesday, a day after Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. announced that its CEO, Jeff Bezos, had purchased The Washington Post.

Amazon worked with Sotheby’s for a short-lived experiment selling art online in 1999, but then the venture was shut down after 18 months to make way for Sothebys.com.

Chris Sabian is a portrait artist with http://www.kutefineart.com and owner of http://www.paragonprints.co.uk