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European Paintings

European Paintings

The Metropolitan Museum's world-famed collection of European paintings encompasses works of art from the thirteenth through the nineteenth centuries—from Giotto to Gauguin. Most, though not all, are displayed in the galleries of the Department of European Paintings. Others works of art can be found in the Lehman Collection, the Linsky Collection, The Cloisters, and in various period rooms.

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The Conservation Continues: Revealing Jabach's Daughter Anna Maria

Michael Gallagher, Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge, Department of Paintings Conservation

Posted: Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The cleaning of the Jabach portrait is going well, and we in Paintings Conservation are all transfixed by the exceptional quality of the painting. One area I was particularly looking forward to seeing without the yellowed varnish was the beautiful figure of Jabach's daughter Anna Maria. She really anchors the right-hand side of the composition, and her self-aware, direct gaze pulls us into the Jabach family's rarefied world. Below are some photographs that I took during the cleaning.

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Le Brun's Jabach: Who's Got the Best?

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Well, if you live in New York and work at the Metropolitan Museum, there's really only one acceptable answer to that question! But what happens when two versions of a picture exist, as is the case with the Metropolitan's new painting by Charles Le Brun of the German banker Everhard Jabach (1618–1695)? I worried about this as we entered into negotiations for the purchase of the picture.

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Way to Gogh

Alison Hokanson, Assistant Curator, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Friday, August 8, 2014

For the first time in recent memory, all seventeen of the Met's paintings by Vincent van Gogh—the largest collection of the artist's work on this side of the Atlantic—are in house and on view in galleries 823826, and 961. Visitors can enjoy a full range of highlights from the artist's prolific years in France, from portraits to still lifes to landscapes. These masterpieces are often committed to exhibitions around the world, making this a not-to-be-missed occasion.

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First Things First: Commencing the Conservation of the Jabach Portrait

Michael Gallagher, Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge, Department of Paintings Conservation

Posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I had first seen the Jabach family portrait in a warehouse in London over a year ago and loved it, but I'll admit that when it finally arrived in our paintings conservation studio at the Museum this past June, I was a bit overwhelmed—it's enormous! Fortunately, the work's current condition needs to be fully documented before conservation can begin. This not only helps a conservator understand the painting and its issues but also provides some breathing space and thinking time.

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Making a Scene in Paris in the Age of Louis XIV

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ever wonder what it would have been like to live in Paris in the golden age of the French monarchy and to have the money to do it in style?

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Featured Catalogue—Interview with the Curator: Keith Christiansen

Nadja Hansen, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Piero della Francesca: Personal Encounters, a new catalogue by Keith Christiansen—the John Pope-Hennessy Chairman of the Met's Department of European Paintings—is the first publication to explore the private devotional works of one of the Renaissance's great masters. Published in conjunction with the eponymous exhibition (on view through March 30), the appropriately small book matches the intimate exhibition, which focuses on one of the gems of the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice: Piero della Francesca's Saint Jerome and a Supplicant, a work that has long mesmerized Christiansen, and has never before left Italy. I sat down with him to discuss this work and why he felt compelled to put this show and publication together.

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Artists on Artworks Celebrates One Year at the Met

Molly Kysar, Former Assistant Museum Educator for Gallery Programs, Education

Posted: Monday, October 21, 2013

On Friday, September 20, the fall season of Artists on Artworks began as visitors gathered in the Vélez Blanco Patio to meet artist Lisa Corinne Davis, who led a tour of the galleries and an hour-long discussion of a few paintings that she had personally selected. During the tour, Davis shared her perspective as a painter, talking about the choices that artists make as they are creating a new work—including what they choose to include and not include in terms of both subject and composition.

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The Grand Tour

Meryl Cates, Press Officer, Met Museum Presents

Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2013

In celebration of the New European Paintings Galleries, 1250–1800, the Museum hosted two special evenings of concerts on September 17 and 18. Music and art came together to illuminate the time period represented by the galleries, creating a resonant cultural experience.

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Looking to Connect with European Paintings: Visual Approaches for Teaching

Elizabeth Perkins, 2012–2013 Samuel H. Kress Interpretive Fellow

Posted: Friday, September 6, 2013

As an art historian, my goal is to offer information and insight. As a teacher, I hope to encourage people to discuss, discover, and explore. Where is the balance between these things in museum teaching and interpretation? When and how is information meaningful? How do we help visitors look closely and relate to what they see? These are some of the questions that guided me during my Kress Interpretive Fellowship at the Met this past year. My main project was a thematic, digital publication focusing on teaching adults in the European Paintings collection. The exciting final result is Looking to Connect with European Paintings: Visual Approaches for Teaching in the Galleries—it has just been released and is available as a free download (PDF) within MetPublications.

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New Labels for European Paintings Galleries

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013

As part of the installation of the New European Paintings Galleries last month, all of the wall labels were rewritten to reflect recent research. Each time I walked into the Rembrandt gallery (Gallery 637) during the installation, I wondered if I was seeing an art project or merely temporary storage for our new label holders.

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Gothic Altarpiece

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013

Before you can put a Gothic altarpiece together, you first have to know how to take it apart. This is Giovanni di Paolo's polyptych from a church in Cortona, Italy, painted in 1454, en route to its permanent installation in Gallery 626 within the New European Paintings Galleries.

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Featured Publication: German Paintings
in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1350–1600

Nadja Hansen, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department; and Hilary Becker, Administrative Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Just in time to celebrate the opening of the New European Paintings Galleries, Curator Maryan Ainsworth has coauthored a comprehensive guide to the Met's German paintings. The collection, which includes pictures made in the German-speaking lands (including Austria and Switzerland) from 1350 to 1600, constitutes the largest and most comprehensive group in an American museum today. Comprising major examples by the towering figures of the German Renaissance—Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and Hans Holbein the Younger—and many by lesser masters, the collection has grown slowly but steadily from the first major acquisitions in 1871 to the most recent in 2011; it now numbers seventy-two works, presented here in sixty-three entries.

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Installing Tiepolo

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013

How many people does it take to hang a ceiling? How many rigs? This snapshot shows The Glorification of the Barbaro Family, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo's great ceiling from Ca' Barbaro, Venice, going up in Gallery 600 during the last week of installation of the New European Paintings Galleries.

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Final Touches

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The last work installed for the New European Paintings Galleries the afternoon before the opening was the famous birth salver created in 1449 for Lorenzo de' Medici (known to later generations simply as Lorenzo the Magnificent). It's in Gallery 604. To make the final meticulous retouching of the mount, the installer, Warren Bennett, had to insert his head into the case, beneath the birth tray. I was struck by the very Neapolitan baroque quality of the image of his head—as though detached, John-the-Baptist fashion, by the "blade" of the salver! I couldn't help but snap a picture. Just look at the spot of light on the cranium: pure Mattia Preti!

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Through Monet's Garden, a Collaboration Blossoms

Masha Turchinsky, Senior Manager for Digital Learning & Senior Media Producer, Digital Media

Posted: Friday, May 11, 2012

It's springtime in New York, and to celebrate we've collaborated with the New York Botanical Garden on a free app that invites you to experience Claude Monet's living masterpiece, his garden at Giverny.

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Featured Publication: The Renaissance Portrait

Nadja Hansen, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In the words of the historian Jacob Burckhardt, fifteenth-century Italy was "the place where the notion of the individual was born." In keeping with this notion, early Renaissance Italy hosted the first great age of portraiture in Europe.

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The Met in Berlin

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I am just back from Berlin, where my colleagues and I participated in the opening celebrations for a beautiful exhibition of fifteenth-century Renaissance portraits from Italy at the Bode-Museum. The show is the result of a remarkable four-year collaboration between the Met's curators and their German counterparts and represents the sort of international exchange that is the core of the Met's mission as a global resource for scholarship. The exhibition will be on view at the Bode-Museum until November 20 and at the Met from December 21, 2011, to March 18, 2012.

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The Artistic Community of Seventeenth-Century Utrecht

Elizabeth A. Nogrady, 2010–11 J. Clawson Mills Fellow

Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2011

As the J. Clawson Mills Fellow at The Metropolitan Museum of Art for 2010–11, my research has focused on the artistic community in the city of Utrecht during the seventeenth-century "Golden Age" of Dutch painting. Through close examination of this network of artists, I have explored Utrecht's role in the magnificent flourishing of the arts that occurred at this time in the Netherlands, despite the civil discord caused by the Dutch fight for independence from Spain. This circle of artists used several different avenues—including displays of camaraderie, strong professional organizations, an emphasis on artists' education, and joint artistic endeavors—to keep their community strong even as Utrecht buckled under the political, religious, and social strain of war.

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Featured Catalogue: Rooms with a View

Nadja Hansen, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Met produces around thirty publications a year, including special exhibition and permanent collection catalogues, guides, the quarterly Bulletin, the annual Journal, and many other special projects. As an assistant in the Editorial Department, I get a glimpse of all stages of production, from the initial proposal until the time the bound book arrives on my desk. Each project can take more than a year and requires close collaboration among the contributors—curators, photographers, designers, outside authors, and, occasionally, collectors—and the editorial staff.

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Today in Met History: March 28

Adrianna Del Collo, Archivist, Museum Archives

Posted: Monday, March 28, 2011

One hundred and forty years ago today, The Metropolitan Museum of Art made its first purchase of works of art—a group of 174 European old master paintings that became known as the "Purchase of 1871." William T. Blodgett, a founding member and Trustee of the Museum, facilitated the acquisition.

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Filippino Lippi's Madonna and Child

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In 1949 the Metropolitan Museum was bequeathed a masterpiece of Italian Renaissance painting. Painted around 1485 by the Florentine master Filippino Lippi, it shows the Madonna and Child seated in a domestic interior, with a view through a window onto a landscape with a river.

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Back on View: A Velázquez Fully Restored

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Velázquez's portrait of Philip IV, king of Spain, went back on view in the European Paintings galleries today after an absence of more than a year, following the completion of a particularly complex restoration.

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Curator Interview: Mezzetin

Jennette Mullaney, Former Associate Email Marketing Manager, Digital Media

Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jean Antoine Watteau's Mezzetin is among the Museum's most evocative works. Katharine Baetjer, curator in the Department of European Paintings, spoke with me about this small, striking painting.

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Giovanni da Milano: Seeing with the Senses

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Monday, August 16, 2010

Two years ago I had the good fortune of being in Florence when, at the Accademia, which every tourist visits for its collection of sculpture by Michelangelo, there was a marvelous exhibition devoted to the great fourteenth-century painter Giovanni da Milano (Italian, Lombard, active 1346–69). I spent hours in the exhibition and it was there that I first saw Christ and Saint Peter; the Resurrection; Christ and Mary Magdalen.

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Artemisia Gentileschi's Esther Before Ahasuerus

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Monday, March 29, 2010

Each time I stand before this painting I am impressed by the clever way the artist—the most famous female painter of the seventeenth century—has infused a well-known biblical story with her understanding of a gendered society in which women employed beauty and cleverness to gain the upper hand.

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March Curator Interview

Jennette Mullaney, Former Associate Email Marketing Manager, Digital Media

Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In honor of Women's History Month, I recently spoke with Rebecca Rabinow, associate curator in the Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art, about The Horse Fair, a monumental painting by Rosa Bonheur (French, 1822–1899). Bonheur was among the most successful female artists of the nineteenth century.

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Now at the Met offers in-depth articles and multimedia features about the Museum's current exhibitions, events, research, announcements, behind-the-scenes activities, and more.