The Art of Europe department encompasses the MFA’s rich holdings of European paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts. These include more than 21,000 artworks from the Middle Ages through the mid-20th century.
An early 14th-century gold-ground triptych by Duccio and his workshop is one of the highlights of the Museum’s early Italian collection, complemented by sculptural works such as Donatello’s relief Madonna of the Clouds.
The Museum possesses an outstanding collection of Netherlandish art, including Rembrandt’s Artist in his Studio, Gerrit Dou’s Dog at Rest, Rubens’s Mulay Ahmad, and seminal works by Frans Hals, Anthony van Dyck, and Rachel Ruysch. It also houses a strong collection of Dutch decorative arts, including ceramics, medals, silver, and an extravagant covered coconut cup. The MFA-based Center for Netherlandish Art (CNA) is a research institute that supports engagement with the collection.
The Museum’s excellent holdings of Spanish paintings include masterpieces by Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Zurbarán, and El Greco.
Specialized galleries and period rooms such as the Kunstkammer (“Cabinet of Curiosities”), the Hamilton Palace Dining Room, and the Newland House Drawing Room emphasize the diverse collections of furniture, sculpture, and decorative objects from the 16th through 18th centuries.
The department’s collection of 19th-century French painting is world famous, with remarkable works by Barbizon, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist artists, counting Renoir’s Dance at Bougival and Gauguin’s Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? among its highlights, in addition to iconic sculptures like Degas’s The Little Dancer. With 35 paintings by Claude Monet, the department boasts one the largest collections of his work outside of France.