Croll Family Gallery (Gallery 134)

Globalism is not a new phenomenon. The Globalism gallery presents a theme that began more than 500 years ago, when ships carrying explorers (and later, goods and enslaved people) connected the entire world as never before. Situated between Asia and Europe, the colonial Americas were literally at the center of the first large-scale worldwide trading network. And through that network, the colonies became the crossroads of a new global artistic culture, reflected in objects such as an ornate Guatemalan coffee pot (about 1770) and John Singleton Copley’s portrait (about 1769) of the Boston-based merchant, and man of fashion, Nicholas Boylston. In the Americas, the movement of people and objects brought up-to-date fashions from Europe and Asia, which intermingled with local artistic traditions to create vibrant new styles. The shipment of raw materials—such as mahogany from the Caribbean, silver from Europe and Latin America, Chinese tea, and West Indian sugar—changed the tastes of Americans. From Quebec City to Lima, Boston to Mexico City, the regional styles that developed out of these interchanges came to define the cosmopolitanism of the colonial Americas and the European empires that controlled vast territories throughout the hemisphere.