“Schlosser could be described as the least-known famous art historian.”
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Central European nobles gathered and displayed art and natural wonders side by side in spaces known as art and curiosity cabinets, or kunst- und Wunderkammer. Viewers were awed by the spectacle of traditional fine artworks alongside objects like ostrich eggs in elaborate stands, complex mechanical clocks, suits of armor, and calligraphic manuscripts. In 1908 Austrian curator and scholar Julius von Schlosser wrote a treatise on this late-Renaissance collecting and display practice, theorizing that it was a critical precursor to the modern museum. Titled Die Kunst- und Wunderkammern der Spätrenaissance (Art and Curiosity Cabinets of the Late Renaissance), Schlosser’s German text was central to the emerging field of art history and, later, to the beginning of museum studies. Despite the impact of Schlosser’s book, it has only recently been translated into English.
In this episode, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann discusses the history of art history, the importance of late-Renaissance art and curiosity cabinets, and Schlosser’s contributions to the fields of art history and museology. Kaufmann is Frederick Marquand Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University and author of the introduction to Art and Curiosity Cabinets of the Late Renaissance: A Contribution to the History of Collecting, the English translation of Schlosser’s 1908 text published by Getty Publications.
For images, transcripts, and more, visit https://blogs.getty.edu/iris/podcast-the-legacy-of-european-art-and-curiosity-cabinets/ or getty.edu/podcasts.
To buy the book visit https://shop.getty.edu/products/art-and-curiosity-cabinets-of-the-late-renaissance-a-contribution-to-the-history-of-collecting-978-1606066652.