Museum of Fine Arts
French Salon and Art of Ancient Greece, Rome and the Byzantine Empire Galleries
The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, ranks among the world’s largest art museums. Famously hosting one of the most comprehensive collections in the Americas, it has been a much-loved institution for more than 150 years.
Goppion was proud to be chosen once more to work with MFA on the engineering and construction of two new galleries during the latest period of renovation.
The intriguing French Salon – a 'disconcerting period room' as the MFA defines it – has been fully renovated in anticipation of the important role it is set to play in the future of the Museum.
Goppion’s display cabinets for the Salon were designed by Keith Crippen, the Museum's Director of Design. Both wall-mounted and freestanding units feature basalt and pietra serena sandstone plinths – a detail that immediately establishes a dialogue with the opulent interior architecture of the space, which is characterized by painted and gilded wood paneling, and marble and bronze finishes.
A showcase set in a wooden table, also produced and engineered by Goppion in Italy, is a particular highlight. This required great precision and care: transporting the display case and positioning it on the table was a delicate operation. Indeed, the fragility of the furnishings in all rooms required painstaking care during the installation period.
The second entirely renovated section of the Museum is the George D. and Margo Behrakis Wing for Art of the Ancient World. This area consists of five redesigned galleries, displaying art from ancient Greece, Rome and the Byzantine Empire. Again designed by the Museum’s Keith Crippen, the transformed galleries tell new stories about some of the oldest works in the MFA's collection.
Filled with natural light, the newly renovated spaces feature innovative exhibits, including a range of interactive and digital experiences created through local and international collaborations. Immersive evocations of an ancient Greek temple and Byzantine church allow visitors to walk back in time, experiencing a sense of the power and beauty of these historical centers of faith.
Goppion created 41 showcases for three of the galleries that comprise this section, dedicated respectively to Greek and Roman mythology (Gallery 207), early Greek art (Gallery 208) and the art of the Byzantine Empire (Gallery 213) - the first gallery of its kind in New England.
Again, the required, high-strength display cases are both wall-mounted and island (including one on a tall octagonal base). Similar in design to the French Salon display cases, some stand on a stone plinth and have bronzed finishes. The interior lighting is made up of a combination of LED bars and spots – subtly illuminating the artworks. Now, visitors of all ages can better appreciate these surviving sentinels from a lost time, and walk among precious remnants of ancient cultures that still resonate with us today.