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Casanova’s Europe: Art, Pleasure, and Power in the 18th Century

Thomas Michie,  Russell B. and Andréa Beauchamp Stearns Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture,  The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts

Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) was one of the most charming, intelligent and magnetic personalities of his day. Though having no legitimate claim to nobility or consistent wealth, he traveled throughout Europe mingling with royalty, popes and intellectuals. He wrote one of the wittiest autobiographies known to survive, offering a glimpse into daily life in 18th century Europe.  The lecture is based on this summer’s exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (July 8, 2018-October 8, 2018), which explores the rich visual world of Casanova and the splendor of mid-18th-century Europe by showcasing 275 objects, including paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, furniture, costumes and musical instruments. Some of the themes addressed are travel, courtship and power, theatricality and identity, and the pleasures of fine dining and lively conversation.


top:Capodimonte Porcelain, The Minuet, Italian ca. 1750

bottom: Gilt Bronze Pair of Louis XV Wall Lights

Photos: Courtesy of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts