European Art: From Divine to Human
People in all their complexity are the subject of the works of art on display in the Museum's European Art galleries. In the Middle Ages, artists focused on a divine or saintly cast of characters; in the last century, their presentation of the human experience moved away from straightforward visual depiction. But from the 16th to the 19th centuries, the span covered by the Museum’s Department of European Art, the painters and sculptors of the academies portrayed human beauty and physicality, relationships and society – at their simplest and at their most sublime.
The collection is a diverse one: in addition to a concentration in painting, it includes examples of sculpture, micromosaic, porcelain, silver, and textile. The European Art galleries embrace a variety of periods and styles, starting in the late Renaissance and ending in the mid-19th century. Among the most important Old Masters represented in the collection are Rubens, Poussin, and Rembrandt.
The rooms contain biblical scenes and historical paintings by Dutch, Flemish, Italian, and Spanish masters. Two period rooms offer visitors another way to experience the 18th century, through objets d’art and restored settings from Paris and Venice.