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What Can Paintings Tell Us?


Every painting has a backstory. Sometimes that story is hidden in clues within the painting itself; at other times it is buried in the picture’s past. This installation highlights discoveries from the museum’s constantly unfolding research on several paintings from the 1400s through the 1700s.

In some cases, museum staff are trying to learn an artist’s identity or a picture’s original purpose. Some kinds of art, like copies of original paintings or art made by women, have historically been obscured. With every new discovery, we fill in missing pieces and unearth new questions to pursue.

Main Building

Free with museum admission

Pay What You Wish admission on 1st Sunday of the month & every Friday night

Media Gallery

Watch: Rediscovering Judith Leyster
Learn more about Dutch painter Judith Leyster, whose work was once misattributed to male artists.


Nicole Elizabeth Cook, Program Manager for Graduate Academic Partnerships; with Sarah Mastrangelo, Fellow in Paintings Conservation
Explore MoreDiscover additional stories and items related to this exhibition.
Learn more about works from the John G. Johnson Collection in our digital publication.

Check out other exhibitions

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