An astonishing collection of masterpieces. Make sure to see the room with paintings by Rogier van der Weyden! And if you can't get there in person, virtually explore the museum with Smarthistory as your guide.
videos + essays
This altarpiece—made for the Medici palace chapel—depicts both a biblical scene, that of the Nativity (the moments immediately following the birth of Jesus Christ), as well as an inspiration to pious prayer.
In this complicated image, Hals investigates madness. The rapidity of his brushwork heightens the viewer’s unease.
Tiles of pie? Spilt porridge? You have to laugh. For all its morality, this painting makes light of human foible.
This gorgeous painting is rich in color—and with possibility. Can the woman stay sober? Will the man succeed?
A feather in his cap—this painting shows off the bravura technique and immediacy of action for which Hals is known.
Hooked thumbs, pressing elbows, open mouths—these details lend intimacy and reality to an otherwise formal scene.
This merchant is a man of business, yet as Holbein reminds us, the material world isn’t all there is.
Who’s that girl? We know so little about this portrait, but mystery only adds to its appeal.
Light floods this church from the north. Impossible? That depends on how you see it. To van Eyck, it was visionary.