This book gathers together 100 paintings from every school from the 1400s to the early 1900s selected by the prominent art historian, ex-Director and current President of the Musée du Louvre, Pierre Rosenberg. American museums often have a work in their collections that has no equivalent in any European museum except in its country of origin. Rosenberg's selection of paintings is a personal, subjective and passionate one. In certain cases, his choice upholds that which is already time-honored and universally celebrated, and in others it draws attention to an exceptional work by an artist who is not. The author justifies his choices in the notes accompanying each of the paintings presented. As well as providing name of artist, title of work, dimensions and date, he addresses the provenance and conditions of its purchase and of its entry into the museum concerned. Quite apart from a selection that may prove debatable, this book aims to stimulate thought on the part of those who believe in the museum's dual function—educational and contemplative—and those who are inebriated by the scent of museums.