Article Number: 8089
Soft Cover, English, 40 Pages, 2002, ISBN 88-85033-43-1
Angela Lorenz

The Theater of Nature or Curiosity Filled the Cabinet

The series of seven books, plus two copies lettered A and B, form an edition with unique variants, as each copy has nine original watercolors of completely different subjects commissioned either by Aldrovandi or by Manfredo Settala (1600-1680) for their collections of curiosities.

The series of seven books, plus two copies lettered A and B, form an edition with unique variants, as each copy has nine original watercolors of completely different subjects commissioned either by Aldrovandi or by Manfredo Settala (1600-1680) for their collections of curiosities. Settala's museum was in Milan, but his manuscripts are housed today in the Biblioteca Estense of Modena, not far from Bologna. The research, both iconographic and textual, was boiled down to a 900-word rhyming poem that accompanies the watercolor illustrations. These are hidden from view, however, when the book is placed upright and its double concertina fold extended outward. In this position, only the 11 copper-plate etchings are visible, as a wunderkammer or theater of nature, receding into the distance. The etchings, hand-drawn by the artist, are based on the earliest images of museums in Europe. They recreate prints commissioned by founders of collections of curiosities to represent the museums visually at the front of a published catalog. Language: English