Exhibition

A New Look at Old Masters

December 12, 2020–March 26, 2023
Exhibitions are free with Museum admission.

A New Look at Old Masters will explore a variety of themes in The Met’s collection of European painting, creating new dialogues among the works and including a large presentation of sculpture.

While one gallery will highlight the creation of still life and genre painting in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, two others will provide an overview of oil sketches from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, leading up to the Museum's unsurpassed collection of works by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. A large gallery will display portraiture in the Grand Siècle, juxtaposing outstanding paintings by Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck with Charles Le Brun’s monumental family portrait of the banker Everhard Jabach.

The eighteenth-century French galleries will take up such themes as the study of expression, François Boucher and the decorative arts, and the role of female artists, who finally found a place in the academy. The Met’s unique collection of French Neoclassical painting, dominated by gifts from Jayne Wrightsman, will be installed with sculptured busts by Jean Antoine Houdon of the essential figures of the Enlightenment: Denis Diderot and Voltaire.

These are just a few examples of the novel themes that will be on display.

A New Look at Old Masters is part of the European Paintings Skylights Project and is a prelude to the final, expansive re-installation of the European Paintings galleries that will take place after the project is completed.

Latest reviews

Works we’ve loved all our lives have never looked better, while some that we may have slighted in the past demand and reward attention in thought-provoking groupings and comparisons that reveal the wealth and depth of the collection.

Karen Wilkin, Wall Street Journal

...the deepest pleasure in having the European painting galleries back—all 45 will reopen in 2022—is the opportunity to revisit friends, many long-familiar, some new.

Holland Cotter, The New York Times

The light in the galleries, controlled by the new system of skylights, changes with the seasons and the times of day, allowing the paintings to be seen afresh in subtly varied conditions. The display asks us to look at the works differently, too—in a more nuanced way, and with a new clarity.

Linda Wolk-Simon, Apollo
Marquee: An array of European Paintings viewable at The Met Fifth Ave.