Literary Masterpieces

Where to see Rembrandts, Picassos, and other art for free

LITERARYMASTERPIECES

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ever mind the books. The Boston Public Library is a free museum, with a largely unknown collection of outstanding art in a building that is itself an architectural masterpiece, including works by Augustus and Louis Saint-Gaudens, Lincoln Memorial sculptor Daniel Chester French, John Singleton Copley, Winslow Homer, James Abbott McNeil Whistler, John James Audubon, Rembrandt, Goya, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Rockwell Kent, and Alfred Stieglitz. There are also murals, including John Singer Sargent’s “Judaism and Christianity,” which he considered his greatest achievement, showing the development of world religions, on the third floor of the McKim Building; and “The Quest of the Holy Grail,” by Edwin Austin Abbey, with 150 life-sized figures illustrating the legends of King Arthur. In its research room, the library exhibits some of its rare book holdings, which include Shakespeare first folios and the personal papers of President John Adams. Enjoy it all for free. Just try to keep the noise down. Moskal

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The Boston Public Library was America’s first publicly supported municipal library and the first to let people borrow books. With more than 15 million volumes, it’s now the country’s third largest library after the Library of Congress and Widener Library at Harvard.

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