Chamber of art and wonders
Exhibition of unique drawings and rarities
In the sixteenth-century, collecting rarities 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, along with drawings and precious objects were gathered together. These collections were shown off to invited guests in specially designed cabinets of wonder.
Detail from a chamber on temporary exhibition at Kunsthandel P. de Boer (2014). An antique stuffed pangolin adorns the chest of drawers. Hopefully this endangered animal will be left alone in the future, which would be a positive side effect of the Corona pandemic.
This temporary exhibition was opened to 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 seventeenth-century chamber of wonders.
A cabinet specially decorated with rarities. The small jars contain animals including turtles, frogs and snakes preserved in formaldehyde.
A painted cabinet decorated with ebony veneer and tortoise shell. Valuables were kept in the many compartments and drawers.
A wall hung full of seventeenth-century butterfly and bird drawings.