The Wunderkammer, or "cabinet of curiosities," saw collectors gathering objects from many strands of artistic, scientific, and intellectual endeavor, in an attempt to encompass all of humankind's knowledge in a single room. Ambitious much?
We're talking about some high-society types here, like Grand Duke Francesco I de' Medici, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, and Archduke Ferdinand II of Habsburg. These guys were the real deal. They snagged, picked, and showed off all the cool stuff and made catalogs. They covered everything – buildings, art, science, shiny rocks, boring rocks, plants, critters, stars, potions, bones, stories, and history. Seriously, they didn't leave anything out!
You've got unicorn horns (which were actually narwhal tusks), sparkly gems, weird coral stuff, fancy glasswork from Murano, artsy things that'll make you scratch your head, and little gizmos that go clickety-clack. And if you flip through the illustrations, you'll find creatures that are both wild and wacky. Oh, and there's the "Coburg ivories" – a wild collection of art and knick-knacks. This whole scene is like a time-traveling rollercoaster, from way back when to the fancy Renaissance, Age of Discovery, and the weird and wonderful Mannerist and Baroque times, right up to now. Some of these curiosity cabinets are history, but others got a makeover, and new ones popped up.
Guess what? You don't need a royal invite to check this stuff out! There's this massive XXL collection you can dive into. To realize this mammoth undertaking, Massimo Listri traveled to seven European countries over several decades; the result is a set of gorgeous photographs, a snazzy intro that's actually pretty easy to understand, and all the juicy details on each of the 19 rooms.
Gift it to your favorite fellow weirdo or keep it to yourself and show your friends that you're not just some weirdo, you're a curious and cultured weirdo with exceptional and time-tested taste.
13 x 2.3 x 18 inches