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Part of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts
Design attributed to Charles-Auguste Questel (1807–1888)
Date: 1839Accession Number: 2006.518
Sèvres Manufactory (French, 1740–present)
Date: 1836Accession Number: 1986.281.4
Stammer & Breul (active mid-19th century)
Date: 1855Accession Number: 2008.452a, b
Date: manufactured 1832, decorated 1844Accession Number: 1992.23.2
François-Desiré Froment-Meurice (1802–1855)
Date: ca. 1850Accession Number: 1999.217.1
Designed by Filippo Pelagio Palagi (Italian, Bologna 1775–1860 Turin)
Date: ca. 1835Accession Number: 1987.62.1
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Complex, lavish, and eclectic, the works of art in this gallery are both deliberately conservative and highly inventive. During the first half of the nineteenth century, European artists and designers sought inspiration in the art of the past. Gothic- and Renaissance-revival styles were especially popular. Artists, however, rarely desired stylistic purity and had little interest in making faithful reproductions of earlier works. They developed a new decorative vocabulary, combining motifs from different artistic moments to create objects that referenced several pasts at once. Revival styles emerged largely as a response to the changes affecting Europe during this period, marked by the Industrial Revolution and widespread imperial conquest. Uneasiness about the future fostered romantic nostalgia for the artistic achievements of previous centuries, which offered a source of comfort and national pride. In revisiting the past, artists played an important role in proclaiming the endurance of their nations' cultural excellence.
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