This catalogue supplies basic information on all paintings, oil sketches, and finished pastels by European artists born before 1865 belonging to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The name, dates, and nationality of each artist are given; medium, dimensions, inscriptions, and accession information are supplied for all works; each text is accompanied by an illustration of the work described. The Department of European Paintings has custodial responsibility for most of these pictures, but also included here are works given to, bequeathed to, or acquired for other departments of the Museum—most importantly the Robert Lehman Collection.
The Museum's holdings number approximately 2,500 works. The greatest strengths are in the areas of French painting (about 800 works) and Italian painting (about 700 works); the balance is represented by the Dutch, British, Netherlandish, German, Spanish, and Flemish schools.This catalogue presents the collection chronologically and by national and regional school. Entries by artist are ordered in accordance with their known or implied birth dates; the works of individual artists are also arranged chronologically. There is an index by artist as well as an index by accession number. The text is complete as of March 1, 1995.