European Decorative Arts
The world-renowned collection of European decorative arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is full of sumptuous surprises. Some delicate and some divine, the objects range from an opulent automaton to a richly wrought crosier, and vary in scale from a salt cellar in the form of a crustacean to the fine wood paneling of an entire dining room. Their dates of manufacture span more than a thousand years—the earliest made shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire and the most recent in the computer age. They reach across space as well as time, bearing evidence not only of cultural exchange among European countries, such as England and France, but also of the revival of ancient motifs and of contemporary trade with India and China. Presented here with an introduction to the topic and individual texts on each piece, these diverse works are organized chronologically and by stylistic movements to highlight their hidden histories.
About the Author
Thomas Michie is Russel B. and Andree Beauchamp Stearns Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.