Boston’s Best Iconic Works Of Art

April 16, 2012 6:00 AM

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Whether you’re strolling through a garden, visiting a museum or walking the Freedom Trail, art is everywhere in Boston. Visitors and locals will find collections in some of the most unexpected places, and art is even woven into the cityscape of American Revolution-era architecture. Tastes that run toward sculpture require only a walk around the city to be satisfied. More interested in paintings or ancient artifacts? You need only take a trip to any number of museums or libraries in this historic city.
georgewashingtonstatue1 Bostons Best Iconic Works Of Art

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George Washington Statue
Boston Public Garden
Charles, Boylston, Arlington and Beacon Streets
Boston, MA 02108

Thomas Ball sculpted this 1869 statue of George Washington that stands in the Public Garden facing the Arlington Street entrance. Today, it stands proudly among a backdrop of flowers, greenery and views of the Boston skyline. It is one of the most famous statues that depicts the first president of the United States astride a horse in military costume. Visitors can view several other iconic statues along the walk to the right when facing George Washington.

paulreveremfa1 Bostons Best Iconic Works Of Art

John Singleton Copley, American, 1738–1815 (credit:

“Portrait of Paul Revere Portrait” 
Boston Museum of Fine Arts
Avenue of the Arts
465 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 267-9300

Price: Free – $22
Hours: Sat to Tues – 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Wed to Fri – 10 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.

John Singleton Copley’s unmistakable portrait of Paul Revere is visually synonymous with the American Revolution. It’s the depiction by which Revere’s face is remembered in history. It is also a prime example of John Singleton Copley’s work. He was one of the most popular portrait painters of his time and much of his work evokes recognition.

rembrandt Bostons Best Iconic Works Of Art


“Self-Portrait, Aged 23”
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
280 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 566-1401

Price: Free – $15
Hours: Wed to Mon – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thu – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Rembrandt van Rijn’s 1629 self-portrait is located in the Dutch Room of the beautiful Isabella Stewart Gardner museum. It is a thought-provoking portrayal, featuring the artist with a feathered cap on his head and gold chain around his shoulders. The painting is a study of light and shadow, and depicts the painter’s thoughts of himself. This youthful portrait of the master is among his earliest.

Related: ‘Manet In Black’ At MFA Boston

bostonpubliclibrary Bostons Best Iconic Works Of Art

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The Boston Public Library
700 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 536-5400

Price: Free
Hours: Varies by location and room

The main branch of the Boston Public Library is a work of art unto itself. The McKim Building is a Renaissance revival opened in 1895. Coffered ceilings and murals are just a taste of what this building has to offer. The Johnson building is a modernist addition to the McKim, which was opened in 1972. Between the two buildings, the arts are apparent in every nook and cranny from architecture to rare books.

Related: Boston’s Best Free Arts

webstersreplytohayne Bostons Best Iconic Works Of Art


“Webster’s Reply to Hayne”
Faneuil Hall
75 State St.
Boston, MA 02109
(617) 248-0399

Price: Free
Hours: Mon to Sat – 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

George P.A. Healy’s epic undertaking of “Webster’s Reply to Hayne” contains no less than 180 portraits, making it the absolute focal point of the Great Hall. The wide rectangular painting hangs above the stage, near busts and portraits of numerous influential, historical American figures. The scene depicted in the painting is Senator Daniel Webster replying to Senator Robert Hayne in Congress.

This list represents just a few of Boston’s many iconic works. What are your favorites?

Shelly Barclay is a professional freelance writer and amateur author. She writes on a variety of topics from food to mysteries. She loves to share the culture and rich history of her birthplace and home, Boston, with the rest of the world. Her work can be found at