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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Art Review

Traces of elaborate, fleeting fun at RISD’s ‘The Festive City’

PROVIDENCE — In Europe before the Enlightenment, wine flowed from fountains, fireworks illuminated the skies, and master artists such as Peter Paul Rubens designed elaborate set pieces for the public to enjoy.

“The Festive City,” at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, an exhibition stoked with juicy historical detail, documents the elaborate festivals staged by monarchs, city governments, and other powers in Europe between 1500 and 1800. The festivals celebrated coronations and royal marriages; they honored the dead; they marked seasonal rituals such as Carnival.

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