Advance Exhibition Schedule

Upcoming Exhibitions and Galleries

Title Dates
Real Photo Postcards: Pictures from a Changing Nation March 12–July 24, 2022
Turner's Modern World March 27–July 10, 2022
Philip Guston Now May 1–September 11, 2022
Strong Women in Renaissance Italy August 20–December 11, 2022
Life Magazine and the Power of Photography October 9, 2022–February 5, 2023
Cy Twombly: Making Past Present January 14–May 7, 2023

Current Exhibitions

Title Dates
Collecting Stories: The Invention of Folk Art through January 9, 2022
Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories through January 17, 2022
Black Histories, Black Futures through January 17, 2022
Paper Stories, Layered Dreams: The Art of Ekua Holmes through January 23, 2022
Tattoos in Japanese Prints through February 20, 2022
Weng Family Collection of Chinese Painting: Travel and Home through March 6, 2022
Helina Metaferia: Generations through April 4, 2022
The Banner Project: Lauren Halsey through May 29, 2022
New Light: Encounters and Connections through August 22, 2022
Galleries of Dutch and Flemish Art opened November 20, 2021
Art of Ancient Greece, Rome and the Byzantine Empire opened December 18, 2021

Please contact Public Relations to verify titles and dates before publication: pr@mfa.org.


Upcoming Exhibitions and New Galleries

Real Photo Postcards: Pictures from a Changing Nation

Herb Ritts Gallery and Clementine Brown Gallery
March 12–July 24, 2022

In 1903, at the height of the worldwide craze for postcards, the Eastman Kodak Company unveiled a new product: the postcard camera. The device exposed a postcard-sized negative that could print directly onto a blank card, capturing scenes in extraordinary detail. Portable and easy to use, the camera heralded a new way of making postcards. Suddenly almost anyone could make photo postcards, as a hobby or as a business. Other companies quickly followed in Kodak’s wake, and soon photographic postcards joined the billions upon billions of printed cards in circulation before World War II.

Real photo postcards, as such photographic cards are called today, captured aspects of the world that their commercially published cousins never could. Big postcard publishers tended to play it safe, issuing sets that showed celebrated sites from towns across the U.S. like town halls, historic mills and post offices. But the photographers who walked the streets or set up temporary studios worked fast and cheap. They could take a risk on a scene that might appeal to only a few, or capture a moment that would otherwise have been lost to posterity. As the Victorian formality of earlier photography fell away, shop interiors, construction sites, train wrecks, and people acting silly all began to appear on real photo postcards, capturing everyday life on film like never before.

Featuring more than 300 works drawn from the MFA’s Leonard A. Lauder Postcard Archive, this exhibition takes an in-depth look at real photo postcards and the stories they tell about the U.S. in the early 20th century. The cards range from the dramatic and tragic to the inexplicable, funny and just plain weird. Along the way, they also reveal truths about a country that was growing and changing with the times—and experiencing the social and economic strains that came with those upheavals.

Funds for this exhibition provided by the American Art Foundation, Leonard A. Lauder, President.

Turner's Modern World

Ann and Graham Gund Gallery
March 27–July 10, 2022

One of Britain’s greatest artists, J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851) lived and worked at the peak of the industrial revolution, when steam replaced sail, machine power replaced manpower, and wars, political unrest and social reforms transformed society. Turner’s Modern World explores how this artist, more than any of his contemporaries, embraced these changes and developed an innovative painting style to better capture this new world. This landmark exhibition brings together more than 100 paintings, watercolors, drawings and sketchbooks by Turner, including Tate Britain’s Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps (1812), The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834 (1835) from the Cleveland Museum of Art and the MFA’s own Slave Ship (1840). These vivid and dramatic compositions demonstrate Turner’s commitment to depicting the great events and developments of his time, from technological advances to causes such as abolition and political reform. Turner’s Modern World is organized by Tate Britain in association with the Kimbell Art Museum and the MFA.

“Turner's Modern World” is generously supported by The Manton Foundation, Carolyn and Peter Lynch and the Lynch Foundation. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support from the Cordover Exhibition Fund, the MFA Associates / MFA Senior Associates Exhibition Endowment Fund, the Alexander M. Levine and Dr. Rosemarie D. Bria-Levine Exhibition Fund, and an anonymous funder.

Philip Guston Now

Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art (multiple galleries)
May 1–September 11, 2022

One of America’s greatest modern painters, Philip Guston (1913–1980) defies easy categorization. His winding 50-year career, in which sensitive abstractions gave way to large, cartoonlike canvases populated by lumpy, sometimes tortured figures and mysterious personal symbols, has excited both admiration and controversy. This major exhibition—organized by the MFA, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Tate Modern, London—is the first retrospective of Guston’s work in nearly 20 years. The selection of approximately 90 paintings and 30 drawings from public and private collections features well-known works as well as others that have rarely been seen. Highlights include paintings from the 1930s that have never been on public view; the largest reunion of paintings from Guston’s groundbreaking Marlborough Gallery show in 1970; a dazzling array of small panel paintings made from 1968 to 1972 as he developed his new vocabulary of hooded heads, books, bricks and shoes; and a powerful selection of large, often apocalyptic paintings of the later 1970s that form the artist’s last major artistic statement.

"Philip Guston Now" is generously supported by the Ford Foundation, the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and Lisbeth Tarlow and Stephen Kay. 

Strong Women in Renaissance Italy

Lois B. and Michael K. Torf Gallery
August 20–December 11, 2022

This exhibition explores female experience and agency in Renaissance Italy, bringing together approximately 100 works of art—mostly from the MFA’s own collection but including several key loans—that illuminate various facets of women’s lives, from the domestic and civic spheres to religious experience and devotional practice. Women were artists, patrons, collectors, writers, musicians, apothecaries, and active members of the workforce in many areas—for example, in convents, they participated in textile and manuscript production, education, medicine and botany. The exhibition highlights individual women such as the painter Sofonisba Anguissola, who served at the court of King Phillip II of Spain and painted more self-portraits than any other Italian Renaissance artist, male or female; and Isabella d’Este, one of the most influential patrons and collectors of her time. Representations of women in historical, religious and mythological contexts are explored as well, including images of the biblical heroine Judith, the saint Mary Magdalene and the sorceress Medea. Grouped in thematic sections, the objects on view include sculpture, paintings, maiolica vessels and plates, prints, manuscripts, printed books and textiles.

LIFE Magazine and the Power of Photography

Ann and Graham Gund Gallery
October 9, 2022–February 5, 2023

From the Great Depression to the Vietnam War, the vast majority of photographs printed and consumed in the U.S. appeared on the pages of illustrated magazines. Among them, LIFE—published weekly from 1936 to 1972—was both wildly popular and visually revolutionary. This exhibition, co-organized by the MFA and the Princeton University Art Museum, is the first to examine the magazine’s impact on the way its readers understood photography—and experienced important historical events. Through unprecedented access to the LIFE Picture Collection and the newly available Time Inc. Archive at the New-York Historical Society, the exhibition brings together more than 180 objects, including original press prints, contact sheets, photographers’ assignment notes, internal memos and layout experiments that shed new light on the collaborative process behind many now-iconic images and photo essays. From Neil Armstrong’s portrait of fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s first steps on the moon to Charles Moore’s coverage of the race riots in Birmingham, the photographs on view capture some of the most defining moments of the 20th century. LIFE Magazine and the Power of Photography highlights a wide range of photographers hired by the magazine, such as Margaret Bourke-White, Larry Burrows, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Frank Dandridge, Yousuf Karsh, Gordon Parks and W. Eugene Smith, whose work is explored in the context of the creative and editorial structures at LIFE. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, with essays and contributions from 25 scholars of art history, American studies, history and communication studies.

“Life Magazine and the Power of Photography” is generously supported by Patti and Jonathan Kraft. Additional support from Kate Moran Collins and Emi M. and William G. Winterer. With gratitude to the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Charitable Trust for its generous support of Photography at the MFA.

Cy Twombly: Making Past Present

Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art (multiple galleries)
January 14–May 7, 2023

Throughout the course of his career, Cy Twombly (1928–2011) produced thousands of artworks inspired in large part by art and literature from the classical world, which he encountered through his travels, reading and collecting. This exhibition is the first in the U.S. to explore the artist’s sustained engagement with antiquity and the first to focus on Twombly—an alumnus of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University—in Boston. Cy Twombly: Making Past Present brings together more than 60 works by Twombly (including paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs and prints) with ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Near Eastern art from the MFA’s collection, as well as a selection from the artist’s personal collection of ancient sculptures, on public display for the first time. The exhibition explores the influence of classical cultures on Twombly’s artistic vision through various themes: the integration of language, the significance of place and journey, mythology, poetry, war and memorials. Highlights of works by Twombly include several pieces that have never been seen in the U.S. before.

Current Exhibitions

Collecting Stories: The Invention of Folk Art

Edward and Nancy Roberts Family Gallery
through January 9, 2022

Throughout the 1940s and 50s, art collector and MFA benefactor Maxim Karolik championed the radical notion of incorporating American “folk art” into the Museum’s collection and disrupting long-held standards and definitions of “fine art.” Through Karolik’s enthusiasm and generosity, the MFA became one of the first encyclopedic museums in the country to actively collect works by artisans, craftspeople, women, schoolchildren, sailors and other artists who were free from the strict rules of traditional Western academic training. Through 59 works on paper shown in two successive rotations and 20 sculptural objects drawn primarily from the MFA’s Karolik Collection of American Folk Art, Collecting Stories: The Invention of Folk Art reflects on Karolik’s quest to champion the “art of the people” by examining the creation of “folk art” as a collecting category in the early 20th century. The exhibition signals the MFA’s ongoing efforts to present a contemporary and inclusive interpretation of artwork previously labeled as “folk art,” reconsidering what is art, who is an artist and how art should be displayed in the Museum. The reinterpretation of the Karolik Collection of American Folk Art introduces a new folk art initiative at the MFA, building on the ideas of inclusion and engagement set forth in the MFA’s Strategic Plan. This is the last exhibition in a series of three funded by the Henry Luce Foundation that uses understudied works from the MFA’s collection to address critical themes in American art and the formation of modern American identities.

Generously supported by the Henry Luce Foundation.

Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories

Ann and Graham Gund Gallery
through January 17, 2022

Quilts are a democratic art. They provide a window into the lives of the many people who have made and used textiles, across geographic, political, social and economic contexts. Organized by the MFA, Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories showcases 50 remarkable works created by women and men, known individuals and those yet to be identified, urban and rural makers, and members of the Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian and LGBTQIA+ communities. The exhibition explores how the quilt, which is often seen today as a timeless, quintessentially “American” art form, has in fact continuously evolved, shaped by a broadly underrecognized diversity of artistic hands and minds. Dating from the 17th century to the present day, the masterpieces on view reveal a rich—and richly complicated—story of the nation’s shared history, contributing to the evolving conversation about what defines the American experience. 

The exhibition brings together for the very first time the only two extant quilts made by Harriet Powers (1837–1910), a formerly enslaved woman from Athens, Georgia. The MFA’s iconic Pictorial quilt (1895–98) is displayed alongside the Bible quilt (1885–86), on loan from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History—a historic union that sheds new light on Powers’ extraordinary artistic and storytelling talents. Fabric of a Nation also features several new MFA acquisitions by contemporary artists who are both building on the centuries-old tradition of quilt making and using the medium to investigate alternative narratives, aesthetics and politics. 

Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue produced by MFA Publications.

“Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories” is sponsored by Chase. Generously supported by Carolyn and Peter Lynch and the Lynch Foundation, and The Coby Foundation. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding from the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, the David and Roberta Logie Fund for Textile and Fashion Arts, the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Fund for Exhibitions, the Robert and Jane Burke fund for Exhibitions, the Loring Textile Gallery Exhibition Fund, and the Patricia B. Jacoby Exhibition Fund.

Black Histories, Black Futures

Carol Vance Wall Rotunda, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Visitor Center, Lower Hemicycle
through January 17, 2022

Curated by young scholars as part of the MFA’s new partnership with local youth empowerment organizations, this exhibition features 20th-century paintings and works on paper by artists of color and is a centerpiece of the Museum’s 150th anniversary celebration in 2020. In the summer of 2019, six fellows from Becoming a Man (BAM), The BASE, and the Bloomberg Arts Internship Boston program managed by EdVestors participated in a series of workshops designed to build curatorial skills such as close looking, research methods, label writing, and gallery installation. The teen curators were mentored by Layla Bermeo, the MFA’s Kristin and Roger Servison Associate Curator of Paintings, Art of the Americas, and supported by peers from the MFA's Teen Arts Council (TAC), who contributed to the exhibition's interpretation and programming. The culminating project features approximately 50 works, organized into four thematic sections that explore and celebrate Black histories, experiences and self-representations. "Ubuntu: I Am Because You Are" presents images of community life and leisure activities, while "Welcome to the City" focuses on paintings of urban scenes in both figurative and abstract styles. Presented on two sides of the Lower Hemicycle, “Normality Facing Adversity” and “Smile in the Dark” examine photographs and works on paper showing dignified Black people and families, from before and after the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibition features well-known artists including Archibald Motley, Norman Lewis, James Van Der Zee and Dawoud Bey, in addition to highlighting painters with connections to Boston, such as Loïs Mailou Jones and Allan Rohan Crite, and bringing fresh attention to rarely shown works by artists such as Eldzier Cortor, Maria Auxiliadora de Silva and Richard Yarde.

Supported by Robert and Pamela Adams, Robert Ellis Alan, and the Terrell Family Foundation.

Paper Stories, Layered Dreams: The Art of Ekua Holmes

Herb Ritts Gallery and Clementine Brown Gallery
through January 23, 2022

A lifelong resident of Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, Ekua Holmes (born 1955) is an artist and community activist whose body of work explores themes of childhood, family bonds, memory and resilience. This exhibition focuses on her award-winning children’s book illustrations—vibrant collages revealing stories of self-determination, love and community that reflect the artist’s distinctive vision and commitment to Black imagery. More than 40 works on view include original illustrations from Holmes’s published book projects: Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement (2015) by Carole Boston Weatherford, Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets (2017) by Kwame Alexander and the recently released Black Is a Rainbow Color (2020) by Angela Joy. The exhibition also features a selection of Holmes’s luminous illustrations for the recently released book Saving American Beach (2021) by Heidi Tyline King—on view for the first time—as well as a selection of her independent work, including portrait installation pieces.

“Paper Stories, Layered Dreams: The Art of Ekua Holmes” is sponsored by Citizens. Additional support from the Benjamin A. Trustman and Julia M. Trustman Fund, Ailene M. Robinson and Thomas E. Lewis, the Shelly and Michael Kassen Fund, the Susan G. Kohn and Harry Kohn, Jr. Fund for Contemporary Prints, and the Eugenie Prendergast Memorial Fund. 

Tattoos in Japanese Prints

Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art (multiple galleries)
through February 20, 2022

Some of the world’s most popular tattoo motifs trace back to early 19th-century Edo (modern Tokyo), where tattoo artists took inspiration from color woodblock prints known as ukiyo-e. Today, the global popularity of tattoos has brought renewed attention to the centuries-old Japanese tradition. Drawn from the MFA’s renowned collection of Japanese art, Tattoos in Japanese Prints looks closely at the social background, iconography and visual splendor of tattoos through the printed media that helped carry them from the streets of Edo-period Japan to 21st-century tattoo shops all over the world.

The exhibition features nearly 80 works by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861) and his contemporaries—including his colleague and rival Utagawa Kunisada (1786–1864) and his pupil Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839–1892). Among the highlights are a selection of prints from Kuniyoshi’s best-selling series One Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Popular Water Margin (about 1827–30). Oral traditions among contemporary tattoo artists credit these works, based on a Chinese tale of a band of 108 heroic outlaws fighting corrupt officials, for giving rise to a new fashion of extensive pictorial tattoos. Kuniyoshi created spectacular original designs for the heroes, adorning their bodies with fearsome lions, coiling snakes, lush peonies, supernatural beings and dragons of various kinds.

Exploring the Japanese tattoo’s evolving meanings, from declarations of religious or romantic devotion to symbols punishment and even crime, Tattoos in Japanese Prints presents a fascinating history of a tradition that continues to influence artists and enthusiasts today.

Supported by the Museum Council Special Exhibition Fund. 

Weng Family Collection of Chinese Painting: Travel and Home

Asian Paintings Gallery
through March 6, 2022

In China, poets and artists often express their passion for places through their art forms. While the generic landscape is a basic theme in Chinese painting, many works also display artists’ emotions about specific locations or longing for their hometowns. In 2018 and 2019, Wan-go H. C. Weng (1918–2020) made the largest gift of Chinese paintings and calligraphy to the MFA in the institution’s history, comprising more than 230 objects acquired and passed down through six generations of his family. This exhibition features approximately 20 works from the gift that relate to travel and home—concepts that have taken on new depths of meaning since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when people all over the world were largely confined to their houses.

Weng Family Collection of Chinese Painting: Travel and Home includes paintings and calligraphy by some of the greatest masters from the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties. Luo Pin’s Sites of Su Shi’s Travels (1780) traces the route of 11th-century poet and scholar Su Shi. Multiple works represent the art and regional culture of Changshu, the Weng family’s hometown. A masterpiece among them is Ten Thousand Miles along the Yangzi River (1699), a 53-foot-long scroll by Wang Hui, one of the Qing dynasty’s most prominent artists and a native of Changshu. The most recent work in the exhibition, a short color film by Wan-go Weng himself titled A Town by the Yangtze (1948), presents a pre-modern Chinese cityscape—including scenes of daily life and architecture—recorded in Changshu in 1948.

This is the second in a series of three exhibitions celebrating the landmark donation made by Wan-go H. C. Weng, a longtime supporter of the MFA who, until he passed away in 2020 at the age of 102, devoted his life to the preservation, study and promotion of China’s cultural heritage.

Generously supported by the Tan Family Education Foundation.

Helina Metaferia: Generations

Edward H. Linde Gallery
through April 4, 2022

Centering women of color as protagonists, Helina Metaferia: Generations uses collage, video and installation to explore how inherited trauma informs present-day experiences. Metaferia mines oral histories and institutional archives of Black liberation ephemera to point toward ways in which activists—especially women of color—can profoundly influence the future, and always have. She respectfully involves these communities as collaborators in her art-making practice, asking them to share their “everyday revolutions”—the ways they navigate and negotiate a world that tries to put barriers in their way. Their responses manifest in different media, including collage and video, that explore how we carry on the legacies of our elders, the kinship we find in our contemporaries, and the many ways these relationships inform and shape our worlds. This exhibition is part of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University’s 2021 Traveling Fellow exhibition program, presented in collaboration with the MFA.

Presented with support from the Callaghan Family Fund for Contemporary Exhibitions.

The Banner Project: Lauren Halsey

Eunice and Julian Cohen Galleria
through May 29, 2022

Lauren Halsey’s work traverses time and cultures, but it always remains firmly rooted in her immediate community of South Central Los Angeles, where her family has lived for over a century. For her Banner Project, Halsey remixes signs, symbols and Afrofuturist visions inspired by the visual vernacular of her neighborhood, including posters, advertising and tags. She juxtaposes them with works from the ancient cultures of Egypt and Nubia that she selected from the MFA’s collection. She also takes inspiration from the aesthetic output of the 1970s, such as the Italian speculative architecture collective Superstudio and the music collective Parliament-Funkadelic. These banners are, in the words of the artist, “fantastical cartographies”—maps that trace heritage from the African continent to the contemporary Black and African-American diasporas in the U.S. Engaged in caring for and reimagining the social bonds in her community, Halsey sees these banners as blueprints to imagine new futures, both local and global, that celebrate and protect Black life. This exhibition is part of an ongoing series of commissions that engages artists to create banners for the Museum’s Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art.

Supported by Tobias and Kristin Welo / Artful Jaunts, LLC and the Henry and Lois Foster Fund for Contemporary Exhibitions.

New Light: Encounters and Connections

Henry and Lois Foster Gallery and Charlotte F. and Irving W. Rabb Gallery
through August 22, 2022

Spanning cultures and geographies, and sometimes millennia too, New Light: Encounters and Connections presents more than 50 works of art from across the MFA’s collection, many of which are on view for the first time. The exhibition is organized into 21 conversations—in each, a contemporary piece that has recently joined the collection is juxtaposed with one or two objects acquired earlier in the Museum’s history. The contemporary pieces include work by emerging as well as local or Boston-born artists—among them Dana C. Chandler, Jr., Eben Haines, Stephen Hamilton, Tomashi Jackson, Lavaughan Jenkins and Alison Croney Moses. The objects in conversation with these recent additions range from a carving of a princess from ancient Egypt to experimental miniature vases made by French ceramicist Auguste Delaherche. Placed in dialogue, these objects old and new invite visitors to explore an array of subjects. A portrait by Stephen Hamilton featuring weaving and dyeing techniques learned in Nigeria engages 20th-century textiles from southwestern Nigeria and Gee’s Bend, Alabama in a meditation on ancestral heritage, while encounters elsewhere address childcare, queer communities and Native resistance, among other topics. Together, these conversations reveal the potential of every addition to the collection to spark unexpected connections and new narratives.

“New Light: Encounters and Connections” is generously supported by the Callaghan Family Fund for Contemporary Exhibitions. Additional support from the Barbara Jane Anderson Fund, The Bruce and Laura Monrad Fund for Exhibitions, and the Diane Krane Family and Jonathan and Gina Krane Family Fund.

Galleries of Dutch and Flemish Art

Opened November 20, 2021

In the 17th century, global commerce fueled the economy of the Netherlands and sparked an artistic boom. Dutch merchants sailed from Amsterdam and other ports across seas and oceans, joining trade networks that stretched from Asia to the Americas and Africa. This unprecedented movement of goods, ideas and people, both free and enslaved, gave rise to what some have called the first age of globalization. Prosperous citizens commissioned and collected art in great volume and the artistic high points of this period continue to be deeply admired today. 

A suite of seven renovated galleries at the MFA will employ up-to-date research to explore the nexus between art, commerce and science in the Dutch Republic and Flanders. Nearly 100 paintings by the greatest masters—including Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, Gerrit Dou, Frans Hals, and Anthony van Dyck—plus works on paper and decorative arts such as silver and Delft ceramics represent this rich visual culture. Organized thematically, the installation examines a variety of subjects: women artists and patrons; the growth of a modern art market; and the unexpected connection between still life paintings, the sugar trade and slavery. Among the many highlights are Rembrandt’s moving Portrait of Aeltje Uylenburgh, a Dutch doll’s house filled with nearly 200 miniature furnishings, and an early self-portrait by Van Dyck posing as Icarus, painted when the artist was just 19 years old.

The opening of the new galleries celebrates the launch of the Center for Netherlandish Art (CNA), an innovative center for scholarship housed at the MFA and the first resource of its kind in the U.S. The CNA was established with initial endowment funds from Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo and Susan and Matthew Weatherbie, given as part of a landmark 2017 gift that also included many of the paintings on view in the installation.  ​

Art of Ancient Greece, Rome and the Byzantine Empire

George D. and Margo Behrakis Wing for Art of the Ancient World
Opened December 18, 2021

Five newly transformed galleries at the heart of the MFA’s George D. and Margo Behrakis Wing for Art of the Ancient World invite visitors to explore nearly 550 objects from one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of Classical art in the world:

  • Anchored by the Museum’s beloved 13-foot statue of Juno, an immersive gallery dedicated to gods and goddesses recreates the atmosphere of an ancient temple. It introduces the Olympians through their myths and explores how they were worshipped by the ancient Greeks and Romans.
  • A Byzantine gallery—the first of its kind in New England—showcases a geographically diverse collection of works ranging from the era of Emperor Constantine the Great in the 4th century to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. A highlight of the space, which is modeled on early Byzantine church architecture, is the 15th-century Monopoli Altarpiece, on view for the first time after undergoing a three-year conservation treatment.
  • The Romans combined likeness, character and social status to create images that are compellingly human, inventing portraiture as we know it today. In a gallery focused on Roman portraiture, visitors will encounter the faces of emperors and those of everyday individuals.
  • Early Greek art, dating from the end of the 10th through 5th centuries B.C.E., is a major strength of the MFA’s collection. Filled with natural light, a gallery dedicated to this formative period includes the frieze blocks from the 6th-century Temple of Athena at Assos in Turkey, a rare example of Greek temple architecture in a U.S. art museum.
  • A gallery of modern and contemporary works located within the wing—the first such space in a major U.S. art museum—explores the reception of ancient art by 20th- and 21st-century artists. The first of the multiyear rotations features the works of the modern master Cy Twombly (1928–2011), an alumnus of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, who drew inspiration from Greek and Roman art, myths and poetry. Il Parnasso (1964), an early important painting by the artist that is a promised gift to the Museum, is joined by three bronzes and two original plasters on long-term loan from the Cy Twombly Foundation.

Bringing to life the richness of the Greek, Roman and Byzantine worlds, these five galleries provide fresh perspectives on an era that provided inspiration for our own modern society. The new spaces will complete a renovated suite of 12 Classical galleries transformed since 2009—most recently, “Daily Life in Ancient Greece” in 2017.