The Museum of Fine Arts: Boston in 7 Iconic Artworks

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is the fourth-largest museum in the United States
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is the fourth-largest museum in the United States | © Jay Yuan / Shutterstock
Casey Campbell

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) is home to a number of artworks that depict the history, culture and daily life of Bostonians.

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts opened in 1907

‘Paul Revere’ (1768) by John Singleton Copley

Many of John Singleton Copley’s works feature important revolutionaries throughout colonial New England, but his portrayal of Paul Revere holding a teapot may be the artist’s most famous and beloved artwork on display at the MFA. Paul Revere – the patriot and silversmith who famously took off on horseback at midnight in order to warn the colonial militia that British forces were poised to attack – is a historical hero in Boston.

‘Sons of Liberty Bowl’ (1768) by Paul Revere

‘At Dusk (Boston Common at Twilight)’ (1855-1856) by Childe Hassam

Artist and Dorchester native Childe Hassam was inspired by French painters such as Giuseppe de Nittis and Jean Béraud, who painted stylish women in everyday city settings. At Dusk (Boston Common at Twilight) depicts a woman and her two children feeding birds on the snow-covered common as the setting sun gives the entire scene a pinkish glow. Before the common was transformed into a park (the oldest in the USA) surrounded by houses and paved walkways, it was just an open field utilized for cattle grazing and the occasional military parade.

The museum regularly hosts exhibitions and events

‘Tremont Street, Boston’ (c. 1843) by Philip Harry

Estimated to have been painted around 1843, Philip Harry’s Tremont Street, Boston portrays one of the busiest streets in the city. Today, it connects multiple neighborhoods, running from Government Center to the South End, but historic maps of Boston date the origins of Tremont Street back to at least 1775. British-born artist Philip Harry’s work frequently featured street scenes and landscapes from throughout New England.

‘Boston Harbor’ (c. 1850-1855) by Fitz Henry Lane

This oil painting by Fitz Henry Lane captures busy Boston Harbor looking deceptively tranquil by the dusky light of golden hour. The Gloucester native painted the scene from a perfectly situated hill in East Boston – a spot that today showcases a high-rise cityscape. Lane’s coastal upbringing heavily influenced his paintings, the vast majority of which depict bodies of water illuminated by glowy sunsets.

‘A prospective view of the town of Boston’ (c. mid-19th century) by Nathaniel Dearborn

Eight British warships approach the quaint homes and spires of Boston city in this wood-carved artwork by engraver Nathaniel Dearborn. A prospective view of the town of Boston was inspired by a Paul Revere design that was created in 1770 in the early days of the Revolutionary War.

‘Park and Tremont Streets’ (1942) by Louis Novak

Although Louis Novak’s painting Park and Tremont Streets was completed in 1942, the perspective looks remarkably similar to the Downtown Boston of today. The station entrances pictured were erected in 1897, making Park Street one of the oldest subway stations not only in Boston but also the country. The Park Street Church, a 200-year-old landmark, is prominent in red brick. Finally, Novak features the Parker House Hotel – birthplace of the much-loved boston cream pie.

The Art of the Americas wing houses a number of important artworks
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article