The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is a phenomenal collection of over 450,000 works of art and is the 20th-largest art museum in the world, boasting over 200,000 square feet of public gallery space. Founded in 1870, the original location in Copley Square was on the top floor of the Boston Athenaeum. It moved in 1876 to its own building, a Gothic Revival masterpiece that was inexplicably torn down in 1909 when the museum moved again to its current location in the Fenway section of the city near the (at the time) newly-founded Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
The current building, designed in the Neoclassical style by Guy Lowell, has had several major additions over the years including the Decorative Arts Wing, the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art (designed by I. M. Pei), and the Tenshin-En Japanese Garden, and the Art of the Americas Wing. The current collection has an impressive array of art which includes Native American art, artwork from China, Japan, and Africa, and Greek and Roman sculptures. Its collection of impressionist art includes works by Monet, Van Gogh, Degas, and Renoir, and the Dutch and contemporary art collections are extensive as well.
During our visit we particularly enjoyed the collection of historical musical instruments, which includes a wild array of ornate guitars, lutes, pianos, and much more. For those curious about how the instruments sound, the museum has videos of them being played on YouTube. We also loved the paintings by John Martin, Panini, and Canaletto, and the Egyptian collection is magnificent. In a location this large, it’s almost impossible not to find something that speaks to you or a new artist to add to your favorites. The museum is open 6 days a week and closed on Tuesdays, you can find more info about hours and exhibitions on their website here. They also offer art classes, tours, lectures, and host screenings for the Boston Turkish Film Festival, so it pays to check their event calendar to see if there’s something you’re interested in. If you’re an art lover, pairing this visit with one to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a surefire recipe for a great day or weekend!
Matthew Christopher MA Boston Mar 11, 2023 Arts Museums Places to Visit