European decorative arts


The world-renowned collection of European decorative arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is full of sumptuous surprises. The objects range from an opulent automaton to a richly wrought crozier, and vary in scale from a salt cellar the size and shape of a small crustacean to the 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-and bear evidence not only of cultural exchange among European countries 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.