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June 9th, 1999
European Painting Before 1900

Masterpieces by Fra Angelico, Sandro Botticelli, Rogier van der Weyden, Hendrik Goltzius, Peter Paul Rubens, Nicolas Poussin, Thomas Gainsborough, J.M.W. Turner, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh are among the treasures to be found in the Museum's recently reinstalled Galleries of European Art. Portraits and religious paintings such as Jan van Eyck's Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata (c. 1428-30), Botticelli's Stories of Saint Mary Magdalene (c. 1484-91), and Joos van Cleve's commanding image of King Francis I (c. 1525), reflect the spirit of the Renaissance. New approaches to historical and mythological subjects, such as Ruben's Prometheus Bound (begun c. 1611-12, completed by 1618), and the development of naturalistic landscapes and still lifes reflect the creative innovations developed in Europe between 1500 and 1850. The Galleries of 19th-Century Art are internationally renowned for great masterpieces of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting: Cézanne's Large Bathers (1906), Van Gogh's Sunflowers (1888 or 1889), Renoir's Great Bathers (1884-7), and Monet's Poplars (1891), along with many others.

As a central component in the Museum's comprehensive reinstallation of its 90 galleries of European art (completed in 1995), the celebrated John G. Johnson Collection of European paintings was installed in chronological relationship to the Museum's own permanent collections of art from the Renaissance through the 19th century. The Johnson Collection, which was bequeathed to the City of Philadelphia in 1917 by the prominent lawyer and collector, and had been on view in separate galleries within the Museum since 1933, includes celebrated works such as Giovanni di Paolo's Saint Nicholas of Tolentino Saving a Ship (1457), Jan Steen's Moses Striking the Rock (c. 1660-1), Gustave Courbet's Spanish Woman (1815), and the majestic Moorish Chief (1878), by Eduard Charlemont, to name just a few.

The Department of European Painting has organized a notable series of popular and critically acclaimed exhibitions. Among the recent highlights: Great French Paintings from The Barnes Foundation (1995), Cézanne (1996), Rodin and Michelangelo: A Study in Artistic Inspiration (1997), Recognizing Van Eyck (1998), Delacroix: The Late Work (1998-9), and Goya: Another Look (April 11-July 11, 1999). Upcoming projects include Rome in the 18th Century (March-May, 2000), and Van Gogh: Face to Face (October-January, 2001). Catalogues such as British Painting in the Philadelphia Museum of Art: From the Seventeenth through the Nineteenth Century (1986) and Northern European Paintings in the Philadelphia Museum of Art: From the Sixteenth through the Nineteenth Century offer comprehensive examinations of notable components of the Museum's permanent collections.

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