In the 16th century, collecting curiosities and art became fashionable among aristocrats and wealthy individuals. This trend developed because of the increasing contact people had with faraway places and their growing interest in the sciences of the physical world. A wide variety of items from nature, drawings and precious objects were gathered together. These collections were shown off to invited guests in specially designed Cabinets of wonder.
In December 2014, a temporary exhibition opened for the public at Kunsthandel P. De Boer on the Herengracht in Amsterdam. In addition to unusual drawings, one of these cabinets of curiosities was also assembled in cooperation with Mireille Mosler Ltd. Rare natural history drawings, unique art objects, taxidermized animals, shells and fossils were all displayed together.
This exhibition provided viewers with a good understanding of the purpose and relationship of these kinds of drawings to the collected objects. The feel of the so-called Groene zaal (Green room) couldn’t have been more perfect: everywhere you looked there was something unique hanging or standing. It was a great opportunity for anyone who wanted to experience the atmosphere of such a 17th century cabinet. Below some impressions of that fascinating exhibition.