ARCIMBOLDO, Giuseppe
(b. 1526, Milano, d. 1593, Milano)

Mammals

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Gouache on parchment
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

The two codices in the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna, denoted as cod. min. 129 and 130 belonged to an ambitious undertaking which was later known as the "Museum of Emperor Rudolf II." They contain gouache paintings on parchment depicting mammals and birds. Most of the folios were created in the period between 1575 and 1611 with cooperation by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Hans Hoffmann, Dirck de Quade van Ravesteyn and Daniel Fröschel. None of the folios are signed and only one is dated.

The acquisition of exotic animals formed the foundation for the zoological garden, first established in Ebersdorf near Vienna and later in Prague, and was a significant prerequisite for the overwhelming quality of the representations.

Cod. min. 129 fol. 21r depicts a blackbuck, which is native to the Indian subcontinent, where it once flourished in herds of thousands.




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