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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

‘Boston Loves Impressionism’ exhibit at the MFA

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Water Lilies Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926) 1907 Oil on canvas * Bequest of Alexander Cochrane * Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

This weekend, the Museum of Fine Arts premiered its newest exhibit, “Boston Loves Impressionism.” This exhibit is unlike any other special exhibit in the museum because the public was given the opportunity to personally select which paintings were to be displayed.
Throughout the entire month of January, anyone could log onto mfa.org and vote for their favorite paintings. Each week revealed a new category to vote for, and the top 30 paintings would get the privilege of being displayed.
The museum received an astounding 41,947 votes over the course of those three weeks. So what painting did Boston choose as its absolute favorite?
Coming in first place with 4,464 votes was Vincent Van Gogh’s “Houses at Auvers,” painted in 1890 during his residency in France. This painting is proudly displayed at the very front of the huge exhibit, garnering the most attention in the room.
Followed closely by “House at Auvers” is Claude Monet’s iconic 1907 “Water Lilies” with 3,503 votes. However, this collection features 28 other paintings from an arsenal of talented Impressionists ranging from Cezanne, Renoir, and Degas.
The collection captures the essences of the genre: soft brushstrokes, the contrast of darks and lights, vibrant hues, and fluid movements. With every painting on display, museum goers are reminded of why Impressionism is such a defining movement in art history that has paved the way for many other new styles to follow.
This is the first publicly curated exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, and the idea for it came about from museum director Malcolm Rogers. The Impressionist Wing of the museum has to undergo minor constructions, but because it is one of the most popular exhibits in the museum, he wanted to find a way to keep the paintings on display for the public.
His solution? Get the public to vote for their favorites, which kills two birds with one stone. Because the new social exhibit is smaller, only a few paintings could make the cut. Allowing museum goers to vote for their favorites is a brilliant way of narrowing down the paintings to display as well as advertising the exhibit itself.
And as the exhibit shows, Boston has a long history of loving Impressionism. Among the various paintings and sculptures on display, the exhibit also includes the fascinating history of Impressionism, and more specifically, Impressionism in Boston.
You can learn about this history through primary documents on display, like letters written by the artists, newspaper clippings, and exhibition catalogues that trace the history of this defining artistic movement.
The exhibit is open from now until May 26, so make sure you don’t miss out! There’s a reason Boston does love Impressionism, and this special exhibit without a doubt shows us why we love it so much.