Faces of Europe


To highlight national treasures from every country in Europe, we invited all 28 EU Member States, as part of the Europeana 280 campaign, to nominate 10 highlights from their collections that have contributed to a major European art movement. We’re pleased to say that every country got involved, and Norway too, generating a fascinating and diverse range of artworks from across the continent.

Faces of Europe is a unique online exhibition series showcasing a selection of these artistic treasures. It features iconic masterpieces by artists such as Goya and Mantegna alongside brilliant works by less famous names. Every fortnight from now until July, we’ll publish a new chapter of Faces of Europe here on Europeana Art History Collections, our curated gateway to the artistic collections of European museums, libraries and archives. Each of the seven chapters to come will explore a different aspect of Europe’s artistic heritage through the eyes of artists and their inspirations. Today, we offer you a glimpse of the exciting journey ahead.

During the exhibition we travel through 500 years of art with nominated treasures from every Europeana 280 country. Our story begins with the medieval pioneers of paint and perspective in Gothic and Renaissance times. We experience the drama of Baroque art, enter the drawing rooms of the Enlightenment, and the ateliers in Paris where artists broke with academic tradition to paint modern life. We see how artists portrayed Europe’s darker moments during times of war and scale Nordic peaks to learn about national romanticism and the inspiration of landscape. In the 20th and 21st centuries, we meet artists who continue to challenge concepts of truth and beauty. In exploring what was happening in Vilnius and Copenhagen, Paris and Bucharest, we discover new faces and new insights into national cultures and identities. We are reminded of the power of art and how it can transform our lives.