In the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Visiting the Museum of Fine Arts? Make sure to see these works.

videos + essays

We're adding new content all the time!

Kota reliquary (mbulu ngulu)
Kota reliquary (mbulu ngulu)

These reliquary figures helped a nomadic society to honor their loved ones after death.

Benin Plaques
Benin Plaques

How to impress your courtiers: a lesson from the Kingdom of Benin

Utagawa Kunisada I, <em>Visiting Komachi</em>, from the series <em>Modern Beauties as the Seven Komachi</em>
Utagawa Kunisada I, Visiting Komachi, from the series Modern Beauties as the Seven Komachi

In this example of ukiyo-e, the artist represents a modern woman in the guise of Komachi, a legendary poetess.

Sofonisba Anguissola
Sofonisba Anguissola

Female painters were rare in sixteenth-century Italy. In self-portraits, Sofonisba made sure to appear virtuous.

<em>Night Attack on the Sanjô Palace</em>
Night Attack on the Sanjô Palace

Complete mayhem! The violent scenes of this remarkable handscroll meld grisly horror with morbid humor.

John Singleton Copley, <em>Paul Revere</em>
John Singleton Copley, Paul Revere

Well known in his own day as a silversmith, Revere is shown in casual attire, with a teapot brimming with meaning.

J. M. W. Turner, <em>Slave Ship</em>
J. M. W. Turner, Slave Ship

A beautiful sunset, but look closer. One of humanity’s most hideous acts—seen in the waves of the indifferent sea.

Fitz Henry Lane, <em>Owl’s Head, Penobscot Bay, Maine</em>
Fitz Henry Lane, Owl’s Head, Penobscot Bay, Maine

“Luminism” sounds like a subject at Hogwarts, but it actually describes landscape paintings like this one.

Rosso Fiorentino, <em>The Dead Christ with Angels</em>
Rosso Fiorentino, The Dead Christ with Angels

Rosso plays fast and loose with tradition, manipulating Christ’s body and transcending High Renaissance strictures.

Mary Cassatt, <em>In the Loge</em>
Mary Cassatt, In the Loge

The subject looks through opera glasses, but she herself is the object of another man’s gaze—not to mention ours.

Thomas Cole, <em>Expulsion from the Garden of Eden</em>
Thomas Cole, Expulsion from the Garden of Eden

Adam and Eve have just been evicted from Paradise, and the grass was definitely greener on the other side.

Edgar Degas,<em> At the Races in the Countryside</em>
Edgar Degas, At the Races in the Countryside

Degas is off to the races, where class issues are in the foreground.