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Distributed for Reaktion Books

Kunstkammer

Early Modern Art and Curiosity Cabinets in the Holy Roman Empire

Distributed for Reaktion Books

Kunstkammer

Early Modern Art and Curiosity Cabinets in the Holy Roman Empire

Exquisitely illustrated, the first thorough history of these astonishing Early Modern cabinets of curiosities.
 
Kunstkammer, art and curiosity cabinets housed in a dedicated room or suite of chambers, were often filled with thousands of diverse and sometimes shocking objects reflecting the bounty of nature and human creativity. These could range from a cherry pit carved with dozens of faces to an intricate drinking cup fashioned from a rhinoceros horn. Whether as a setting for personal contemplation or as a manifestation of the wealth and prestige of its owners, these proto-museums dazzled visitors of the time. This book offers the first in-depth comparative examination of the history, theory, organization, and character of the major Kunstkammern in the Holy Roman Empire.

336 pages | 100 color plates, 88 halftones | 7 1/2 x 9 3/4

Art: European Art


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Reviews

“Smith’s new book provides an accessible introduction to one of the most fascinating phenomena in Early Modern Europe, the Kunstkammer. Based on contemporary inventories and the interpretive literature (mainly) in German, his clearly written text surveys the most important collections of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century and situates them in context.”

Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, Frederick Marquand Professor of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University

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