The Early Modern Kunstkammer: Collecting What the World Has to Offer

Event Type Sheppy Dog Fund Lecture , Educational Lectures , Member Events & Activities , Special Events , Adults , Free Programs , Late Nights , Lectures
Date calendar  Thursday, November 16, 2023
Time clock  6:00pm - 7:00pm (1h)
Location FIA Theater

The Early Modern Kunstkammer: Collecting What the World Has to Offer

Nov 16 | 6p | FIA Theater | FREE Admission

Dr. Jeffrey Chipps Smith, Guest Lecturer

A critical new chapter in the history of collecting arose in the second half of the 16th century along with the advent of European global trade. The Kunstkammer, a cabinet of art and curiosities, was a highly specialized exhibition room or suite of chambers filled with thousands of diverse and sometimes shocking objects reflecting the bounty of nature and human creativity. Contents could range from a cherry pit carved with dozens of faces to an intricate rhinoceros horndrinking cup, to utilitarian scientific instruments to the exotic bounty of objects gathered from Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Whether as a setting for personal contemplation or a manifestation of the wealth and prestige of its owners, these protomuseums dazzled visitors.

Until his retirement in August 2023, Dr. Jeffrey Chipps Smith was professor and Kay Fortson Chair in European Art at the University of Texas, Austin. He specializes in Northern European art from 1400 to 1700, especially that of Germany and the Netherlands. Smith’s publications focus on Nuremberg and its culture, Albrecht Dürer, German sculpture, the Jesuits, Northern Renaissance art, patronage, and issues of historiography and reception, among other topics. His latest books are Albrecht Dürer and the Embodiment of Genius: Decorating Museums in the Nineteenth Century (Penn State Press, 2020) and Kunstkammer: Early Modern Art and Curiosity Cabinets in the Holy Roman Empire (Reaktion Books, 2022). Smith was a Mercator Fellow at the University of Hamburg from May through July this year.

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The Sheppy Dog Fund Lecture has been established to address the topics of art, religion, and history, and is funded annually by The Sheppy Dog Fund, Dr. Alan Klein, Advisor.

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