HIGHLIGHTS

POINT 1

Treasures of The Metropolitan Museum of Art under one roof in Japan!

POINT 2

Masterpieces of the giants of European art spanning 500 years

POINT 3

65 masterpieces from The Met’s European Paintings collection, including the Japanese debut of 46 works

History

The concept for The Metropolitan Museum of Art was first put forward by a group of Americans who had gathered in Paris on July 4, 1866 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of America's Declaration of Independence. The Museum was founded four years later, on April 13, 1870. Its mission was to encourage and develop the fine arts and related education for the people of America, and it was founded through the tenacious efforts of private citizens including businessmen, people of wealth, and artists. Although the Museum did not have a single work of art when it was first founded, its collection grew with the aid of donations from private collectors and the efforts of other stakeholders, finally opening to the public for the first time in a small building in Manhattan on February 20, 1872. In 1880, it moved to its present home in a building in Central Park. The Museum subsequently continued to grow, and today its collection contains over 1,500,000 archaeological artifacts and works of art from every region of the world, spanning more than 5,000 years from prehistoric times to the present.
Images Available for Loan for Publicity Purposes
Top left: A stereograph of the original Metropolitan Museum of Art building in Central Park, 1880 (photograph)
Bottom left: The Metropolitan Museum of Art viewed from the southeast, 1993
Right: Front entrance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Ⓒ The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Images Available for Loan for Publicity Purposes
From Top: A stereograph of the original Metropolitan Museum of Art building in Central Park, 1880 (photograph)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art viewed from the southeast, 1993
Front entrance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Ⓒ The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Department of European Paintings

The collection of European paintings began with the purchase of 174 paintings from art dealers in Europe in 1871, one year after The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded. Since then, the collection has continued to expand through donations, bequests, and purchases, currently boasting over 2,500 paintings from European countries spanning the 13th to the early 20th centuries. The Department's permanent exhibition galleries are located on the second floor of the Museum, where the Skylights Project has been underway to update the lighting facilities. Until the diffusion of electric lighting at the end of the nineteenth century, paintings were both created and appreciated in natural light. The Skylights Project is an attempt to produce a more comfortable and natural environment for the appreciation of artworks by making use of natural light admitted through skylights to illuminate the gallery. It was the ensuing construction work for this project that provided the opportunity making the present exhibition possible.

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