Unpacking the Printed Wunderkammer: Matthäus Merian’s Florilegium Renovatum et Auctum (1641)
Chen, Jessie Wei-Hsuan
Savannah, Georgia: Savannah College of Art and Design
Thesis (M.A.) -- Art History
Savannah College of Art and Design -- Department of Art History
Includes bibliographical references (pages 88-97).
"Engraver Matthäus Merian’s (1593–1650) 1641 publication the Florilegium Renovatum et Auctum (Frankfurt am Main) responds to the larger collecting culture in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, especially to the phenomenon of compiling a wunderkammer as a venue for learning. The 1641 Florilegium is a flower book that also serves as a catalog of the botanical collection of Frankfurt Burgomaster Johannes Schwindt (1580–1648). The book includes engravings addressing major elements of Schwindt’s garden: parterre designs, display methods, and portraits of plants. Current scholarship considers the volume simply as an updated edition of the Florilegium Novum (Oppenheim), a picture book with about eighty botanical illustrations that was first issued by Merian’s father-in-law Johann Theodor de Bry (1561–1623) in 1612. However, this view recognizes only the plant portraits and disregards the garden imagery in the 1641 volume. A close examination of the content reveals that the 1641 Florilegium presents Schwindt’s garden as the outdoor garden form of a wunderkammer. Using Flemish physician Samuel Quiccheberg’s (1529–1567) first treatise, detailing the suitable objects to acquire to construct a curiosity cabinet, as a template, it is clear that Merian’s volume corresponds to the periodical thinking of marvel collecting. The 1641 Florilegium thus becomes a pictorial representation of Schwindt’s garden as a cabinet of curiosities and facilitates intellectual conversations in various fields."
Keywords: Matthäus Merian, Johannes Schwindt, Johann Theodor de Bry, Florilegium, botanical illustration, garden, collection, wunderkammer, Samuel Quiccheberg
CHAIR: DiFuria, Arthur J.
PDF (97 pages): illustrations (some color
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