Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Paper Museum

Corals, Stones, Minerals, Fossils

Gems, Stones, Amulets

Fruits, Seeds, Legumes

Italian scholar Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1657) began to assemble his famous Museo Cartaceo ("paper museum") in Rome about 1615, after his appointment as secretary to Cardinal Francesco Barberini. Nicolas Poussin, among many others, found a reliable patron in Cardinal Barberini's secretary and personally made use of the paper museum as a source for antique models for his own painting practice. Fifty years after Cassiano's death the collections were purchased from his heirs by Pope Clement XI. Fifty years after that, agents for King George III managed to buy the larger part of the paper museum from Clement's heirs. These sheets of painted specimens entered the Royal Collection by that sinuous route, about a century and a half after Cassiano dal Pozzo commissioned and assembled them in Rome.

White Stork




Venice Pea


Deformed Broccoli

Deformed Melon

Digitated Lemon

Baroque taste set a high value on natural wonders, including oddities and deformities. One text of the time remarked that " . . . while we are horrified by monstrosities in human beings, we love them in fruit . . ."