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About The Met/ Collection Areas/ European Paintings
Detail view of Jacques Louis David's painting "The Death of Sophocles"

European Paintings

The Met’s celebrated European Paintings collection encompasses more than 2,500 works of art from the thirteenth through the early twentieth century. In addition to the department’s galleries, pictures hang in the Robert Lehman Collection, the Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, and in other departmental galleries at The Met Fifth Avenue, as well as at The Met Cloisters.

Apart from individual masterpieces by artists as diverse as Jan van Eyck, Caravaggio, and Gustav Klimt, The Met possesses a rich display of early Italian and Northern art, along with one of the world’s greatest collections of seventeenth-century Dutch paintings, including outstanding works by Frans Hals, Rembrandt, and Johannes Vermeer. The Museum's holdings of El Greco and Goya are the finest outside of Spain. Its galleries of nineteenth-century French paintings are second only to the museums of Paris, presenting in depth the art of Gustave Courbet, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and others.

The collection traces its origins to the Museum’s founding purchase of 174 paintings from European dealers in 1871. Since then, numerous donations, bequests, and curatorial purchases have greatly enriched the department’s holdings. In recent years, the department has built up a notable collection of seventeenth-century Italian painting; acquired an unrivalled survey of plein-air oil sketches from the decades before Impressionism; and expanded its display of nineteenth-and early twentieth-century Northern and Central European art. As it grows, the collection reflects our constantly evolving ideas about art history and offers new opportunities for discovery by the public and scholars alike.


Explore the Collection

Discover 125 highlights and browse more than 2,500 artworks from the department in our online collection.

Recent Acquisitions

Introduce yourself to a selection of our newly acquired works.

Newly Catalogued Works

View an assortment of paintings with new online catalogue entries.

Look Again: European Paintings 1300–1800

Now on view, the reopened galleries highlight fresh narratives and dialogues among more than 700 works of art from the Museum’s world-famous holdings.

Courbet in Sight

Join Asher Miller, associate curator of European Paintings, on a tour of the Department’s reinstallation of their nineteenth-century galleries, which highlights works by Gustave Courbet.


Related Content


Discover The Met’s many publications on European paintings.

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Browse richly illustrated essays on European paintings.

Blog Articles

Read fresh perspectives on European paintings from curators and others at the Museum.


Watch videos about European paintings at The Met—interviews, lectures, exhibition previews, and more.


Stay Connected

Meet the Staff

Get to know the people who care for the art.

Meet the Fellows

Meet the 2020–21 academic fellows in the Department of European Paintings.

Curatorial Friends Group

Friends of European Paintings brings together patrons and collectors in support of the department.

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