Boston's Museum of Fine Arts is one of the country's oldest and most important art museums. With a collection that spans millennia and the globe, the MFA provides an endless opportunity to discuss the role of art in history and culture. During this 3-hour survey of the MFA led by an art historian, we'll concentrate on some of the major holdings of the museum, including it's Renaissance and Baroque European collections, the modern galleries, and the American Collection, tying these together with a narrative approach that traces aesthetic styles and preoccupations through the ages.
We'll begin with an overview of the institution, from its founding in the 1870s to the construction of its present building in the first decades of the 20th century to the major renovations and expansion that's currently underway. Patronage will be a strong theme as we wander the galleries and discuss the people and social and political forces behind many of the artworks here. Our discussion will revolve primarily around Western art and the European and American collections; however, there will be an opportunity at the end of the walk, to visit the Asian galleries and have a brief, introductory explanation of this world-renown collection.
In the European painting galleries we'll trace the trajectory of European art from the Italian Renaissance to the birth of the modern movement, looking at such diverse artists as Donatello, Fra Angelico, Matisse, and Picasso. We'll also spend some time in the stunning new Art of the Americas wing, looking at the museum's peerless collection of colonial art and compare the figures of Copley and Revere through the works they crafted. Our journey will take us into the 19th century where we'll see works by Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent, and beyond into the 20th century.