Musée des Beaux-Arts
Lonely Planet review for Musée des Beaux-Arts
Montréal's Museum of Fine Arts, the oldest in the country and the city's largest, is housed in two buildings: the classical, marble-covered Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion, and the modern annex across the street, the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion. The latter plays host to works by European and Canadian masters but also ancient artifacts from Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Far East; Islamic art and works from Africa and Oceania.
The Old Masters collection has paintings from the Middle Ages stretching through the Renaissance and classical eras up to contemporary works. Exhibitions change but some great painters (such as Rembrandt, Picasso or Matisse) and sculptors (Henry Moore, Alberto Giacometti or Alexander Calder) are always on display. Researchers can consult 50,000 books and hundreds of periodicals on the visual arts. The building is an attraction in itself, a minimalist space with classical columns.
The classical pavilion is accessible via an underground tunnel and houses the Musée des Arts Décoratifs with works and handicrafts from some of the world's most influential designers. The eclectic collection includes glass vases, Victorian chests, home appliances and an Inuit gallery as well as sections on industrial and graphic design. Regular English tours are given on various subjects. Call ahead for the schedule.