(b. 1581, Antwerpen, d. 1642, Antwerpen)

Art Room

Oil on wood, 74 x 78 cn
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

In the 17th century there were several royal collections in which 'naturalia' - objects found in nature such as pearls and shells - were mixed with 'arteficialia' - precious man-made objects including coins, medals, paintings, sculptures, Nautilus goblets, astronomical gadgetry, etc. Scientific thought in the early modern era was governed by the principle of 'curiositas' (curiosity or inquisitiveness), thus these collections were centres of expansive research. The painting of Frans Francken II shows a good example.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 19 minutes):
Modest Mussorgsky: Picture from an Exhibition, arr. by Maurice Ravel (excerpts)