The collection of the Israel Museum’s Department of European Art spans the period from the 15th to the late 19th century, representing several of the nations of Europe. It comprises paintings on wood and canvas; sculptures in marble, bronze, and ivory; porcelain; silverware; tapestries; and textiles.
Over the years, the department’s holdings have steadily grown in scope, and they were substantially enriched in recent years by gifts of a number of masterworks, among them The Destruction and Sack of the Temple of Jerusalem by Nicolas Poussin (lost for over two centuries and only rediscovered in 1995); The Death of Adonis by Peter Paul Rubens; and St. Peter in Prison by Rembrandt van Rijn. The following paintings are exhibited in the department’s permanent collection: works by Dutch artists such as the Cuyps, Jan Victors, Pieter Lastman, the school of Hieronymus Bosch, and Anthony van Dyck; Italian artists such as Bernardo Strozzi and Bartolomeo Bettera; French artists such as Dominique Ingres; German artists such as Lucas Cranach the younger; Spanish artists such as Jusepe de Ribera; and English artists such as Thomas Lawrence and George Romney. Recurrent themes are stories from the Bible, the New Testament, and classical mythology, scenes from everyday life, still lifes, landscapes, and portraits.
Also under the care of the department are three period rooms. An 18th-century French salon, designed and furnished in the Rococo style, was brought in its entirety from Paris; a small anteroom leading into it presents a display of porcelain from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The 18th-century Venetian sitting room reveals the influence of China on Venetian art and design in that period. The English dining room reflects the style of the aristocratic country house in the latter part of the eighteenth century.