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The Met reopens 45 European art galleries after a five-year renovation

The front entrance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The front entrance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Copyright AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
Copyright AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
By David Mouriquand
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Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Goya - all cast in fresh new light - literally - thanks to The Metropolitan Museum of Art's largest infrastructure upgrade in the museum's history.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art will reopen its full suite of 45 galleries dedicated to European Paintings from 1300 to 1800 on Monday 20 November, following the completion of an extensive skylight renovation project that began five years ago.

"Look Again: European Paintings 1300–1800" will highlight new narratives and juxtapositions among more than 700 works of art, including pieces by Rembrandt, Caravaggio, and Poussin, as well as the most extensive holdings of El Greco and Goya outside Spain.

According to the musuem’s website, a chronological sequence of displays will showcase the Museum’s “world-famous holdings, offering fresh dialogues and thematic groupings”.

The newly reconfigured galleries will “illuminate the interconnectedness of cultures, materials, and moments in the collection”.

The project was the largest infrastructure upgrade in the museum's history, requiring a $150 million (approx. €138m) budget.

“The highly anticipated reopening of this vast suite of galleries will invite visitors to reunite with old favorites - and discover incredible recent gifts and lesser-known artworks - all within a newly considered context,” said Max Hollein, The Met’s Marina Kellen French Director and CEO.

Construction teams replaced 30,000 square feet of skylights, which were first constructed in 1939 and last upgraded in 1952. The upgrades provide a better quality of light in the galleries, energy efficiency and ideal conditions for the paintings on display, Hollein explained.

“The completion of the enormous skylights renovation project allows us to display these exceptional works of art within a superb setting, and we look forward to welcoming all to enjoy this splendid presentation of art and ideas for many years to come.”

Stephan Wolohojian, the John Pope-Hennessy Curator in Charge of the Department of European Paintings, added: “The skylights project presented us with an important opportunity to re-conceptualize the presentation of The Met’s extraordinary collection through a fresh lens. Our goal is to meaningfully engage with our many audiences and make the experience of viewing our collection as rich, layered, and satisfying as possible.”

The galleries will officially re-open on Monday 20 November. "Look Again: European Paintings 1300–1800". 20 Nov. 2023 – Ongoing, at the Met Fifth Avenue, US.

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