The Museum of Fine Arts located in Boston, MA holds a spectacular array of art: with over 450,000 works of art in its collection, ranging from European to ancient cultures to modern photography, the charming neoclassical architecture of the museum itself and its role it plays in city life makes it one of Boston's must-visits. The layout of the museum itself makes it easy to get lost in the paintings but is organized by type of art, time periods, and artist. With such an extensive collection, it's easy to miss exhibitions and paintings, so the following summarizes the paintings that you absolutely must see during a visit to the MFA.
1. "The Slave Ship" (1840) by Joseph William Turner
The Slave Ship, beyond its aesthetic attraction, exudes a historical and political commentary also. A classical landscape painting, the romantic aspects of the painting are evident, given its lack of harsh lines and shapes- the painting exudes more of a dramatic provocation of emotion through the usage of colors and light play. Inspired by the slave trade and the abolitionist movement, the historical significance of this painting is great and makes it an amazing piece of art to be able to view.
2. "The Water Lily Pond" (1900) by Claude Monet
Monet, with his compositions of light brushstrokes that create images that allow the viewer flexibility of interpretation, is famous for landscapes that draw the viewer in. The interplay of water and land and the expression of beautiful Japanese architecture is what makes the painting so compelling to look at. "The Water Lily Pond" is perhaps the embodiment of these very expressions and is one of Monet's most iconic works, making it worth your while to see during a visit to the MFA.
3. "Fruit and a Jug on a Table" (1890-94) by Paul Cézanne
Cézanne, famous for his still lifes, captures the dichotomy of the ordinariness and spectacularness of life with his painting that explores how objects interact with space and perspective. As part of post-impressionism, the lifelike still-lifes represent a transition and period of art that are interesting to see and learn about.
4. "Madonna of the Clouds" (1425-1435) by Donatello
This stone marble art piece showcases the extensive collection that the MFA carries and also exemplifies Donatello's sculpting talent, and the intricacies of the engraving and design exemplify a medium of art that is set apart from canvas paintings. The expressions and detail of Madonna and the cherubs are striking, and make this piece enthralling for the viewer considering how old the art itself is.
5. "Dos Mujeres" (1928) by Frida Kahlo
This more modern piece of art is by a Mexican painter who was extremely influential in Mexico, even across generations, and the painting is an exploration of modernism and cross-cultural expression. The details of the faces and the symbolism expressed in the painting makes it a compelling piece of art that is worth your time to see if you are touring the MFA.