CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

The Festive City

Exhibition: 21 December 2012 - 14 July 2013

Information from the museum, 16 October 2012

Elaborate festivals transformed European cities from the 16th to 18th
centuries. Occasions such as coronations and royal visits, civic and religious
processions, and carnival races used public spaces as an interactive backdrop
on a scale rarely seen today—replete with dazzling ephemeral architecture
and decorations (giving artists and artisans a steady supply of work),
impressive firework displays, musical and theatrical interludes, and free food
and drink.

This exhibition brings together rarely-seen festival prints and books, among
our only traces of these staggeringly expensive but fleeting events. Drawn
from the collections of the Museum, the John Hay Library at Brown University,
and local collector Vincent J. Buonanno, these works are among the most
impressive feats of printmaking in the early-modern period, with multi-plate,
fold-out pages documenting processions and huge crowds, dramatic
nighttime firework scenes, and more.