A Little Insight into the World of Curiosity Collectors in the 16th–18th Centuries

Pages 66–77
DOI 10.37520/amnpsc.2022.009
Keywords collecting – cabinets of curiosities – 16th–18th centuries – Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria (1529–1595) – Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor (1552–1612) – Michael Bernhard Valentini (1657–1729)
Type of Article Miscellanea
Citation SMÍTKOVÁ, Alena Císařová. A Little Insight into the World of Curiosity Collectors in the 16th–18th Centuries. Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum. Prague: National Museum, 2022, 67(1-2), 66–77. DOI: https://doi.org/10.37520/amnpsc.2022.009. ISSN 2570-6861 (Print), 2570-687X (Online). Also available from: https://publikace.nm.cz/en/periodicals/acta-musei-nationalis-pragae-historia-litterarum/67-1-2/a-little-insight-into-the-world-of-curiosity-collectors-in-the-16th18th-centuries
Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum | 2022/67/1-2

The origins of collecting are as old as humanity itself, and practically anything can be collected. In the 16th century, it became fashionable to collect natural peculiarities with the aim to create so-called cabinets of curiosities. The owners were distinguished and wealthy people with high social status and scholars. The most important and largest collections were owned by Archduke Ferdinand II of Austria at Ambras Castle and Emperor Rudolf II in Prague. The cabinets of the Danish physician Ole Worm and the German Jesuit Athanasius Kircher were also prominent. The first comprehensive study of natural history collections in Europe is the richly illustrated work Museum Museorum by Michael Bernhard Valentini from the early 18th century.

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