MUSEUM AT A GLANCE: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

I was in Boston recently with family and went to the MFA, one of my favorite museums. It is a beautiful building with grand interiors and an excellent permanent collection that I was aching to revisit. So while the rest of my family went to learn about a newly found Egyptian mummy, I walked around parts of the museum, drinking in its permanent collection, and since I am mostly interested in European art, the second floor of the museum is where I directed most of my attention.

I walked through the Baroque, Renaissance, Impressionist and Medieval galleries as well a small exhibit about the etchings of Durer. The MFA has some lovely, bold and colorful Titian and Rubens paintings in the Late Renaissance/Early Baroque room, as well as several haunting, distorted El Greco works. The room which contains these paintings is a magnificent space, with high ceilings and inspires a sense of awe. However, many of the paintings are placed too far above eye level to truly be appreciated.

The medieval gallery has some early religious sculptures and triptychs by unknown artists that were interesting to me, as comparisons to the more natural, realistic terracotta sculptures in the small Renaissance gallery. The medieval collection offers a more stilted representation of the Madonna and Child theme, with wooden poses and the depiction of the Christ child as a miniature adult, a common trait of medieval sculpture. However, I was disappointed slightly in the Italian Renaissance collection. Aside from some lesser della Robbia glazed terracotta devotional figures, it did not have much of note. However, most of the good Italian Renaissance art is not located in the U.S., so I understood. Another qualm was that it was located nowhere near the other Italian or Renaissance galleries; it was tucked away in a small room that took a while to find. However, the MFA has an excellent array of Impressionist works, with many Monet water lilies, haystacks and water scenes as well as one of the “Dancer” sculptures by Edgar Degas, which is a personal favorite piece of art (owing to my love of ballet).

The small exhibit on the etchings of the Renaissance artist Albrecht Durer, located on the first floor in what I believe was the drawings gallery, was also quite enjoyable. Albrecht Durer was an early Renaissance artist from Germany who was very influential, and his dynamic woodcuts and etchings of religious scenes such as the fall of Adam and Eve were wonderful. I also enjoyed just walking around the hallways of the MFA, admiring the small Rubens paintings and Canova sculptures near the stairs.

All in all, my brief trip to the museum was a familiar, pleasant touring of the European art collection, but with a slight disappointment with regards to the museum’s collection of the art in which I am most interested (that of the Italian Renaissance). For my readers in the area, I would definitely recommend a trip to see the Impressionist and Baroque art and to take in the grandeur of the architecture.


  1. This one is great! Really well written and informative!


  2. Interesting, I guess I have another stop to make next time I'm in Boston! Thank you for the tip!

  3. Excellent. Even though I saw the same exhibit (at the same time as you no less :)) I feel that I should go see it again after reading your blog. Great Job!

  4. sneaky. i didn't see that you had a pad and paper with you, or is everything in item based merely on recall? again, it's a vry good piece in need of paragraphs. maybe now that you've seen the american show in la you'lllore american galleries at MFA. by the way, you could have mentioned in first review the show at the manchester museum. it tied in with american survey and mentioning it would have indicated your erudition. love, grandmere

  5. The Degas dancers are my favorite too.



Post a Comment