Esteemed lawyer John G. Johnson left his extraordinary collection of nearly 1,200 paintings to the City of Philadelphia after his death in 1917. In 1933, the museum was asked to take responsibility for the collection’s care and display. Renowned for its holdings of old master pictures by artists such as Antonello da Messina, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Lorenzetti, and Pinturicchio, the Johnson Collection also features major pieces by nineteenth-century French artists Gustave Courbet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, and Édouard Manet.
Dutch art, primarily of the Golden Age, is also well represented, including works by Rembrandt, Pieter Jansz. Saenredam, Jan Steen, and Jacob Issacksz. van Ruisdael. Johnson’s interest in early Netherlandish art led him to what is arguably his greatest gathering of masterpieces: Robert Campin’s exquisite Christ and the Virgin, Jan van Eyck’s meticulous Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata, and Rogier van der Weyden’s moving Crucifixion, with the Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist Mourning.