The House of Habsburg was one of the wealthiest dynasties in Europe, and many of its members were also great collectors and patrons of the arts. Their love of magnificence is reflected in the quality and diversity of the objects in Viennas Kunstkammer, one of the most important collections of decorative arts in the world. This book features around 150 of the masterpieces from the Habsburg collections, ranging from sublime works of sculpture and fine metalwork to exotic objects fashioned from ostrich eggs, nautilus shells, rhinoceros horns and sharks teeth. Alongside the Saliera, Benvenuto Cellinis famous golden salt cellar, and the High Gothic sculpture known as the Krumau Madonna, are extraordinarily delicate works carved from ivory, gorgeous tapestries and mechanical marvels. The emperors, princes and archdukes who shaped these collections wanted not only to create a sense of wonder in all who gazed upon them but also to symbolize their own dominion over the world. Filled with lavish photographs and fascinating insights, this is a worthy tribute to the Habsburgs and their lasting artistic legacy.
Ten years after the tragic theft of Benvenuto Cellini’s masterpiece, a gold and enamel saltcellar, Vienna’s Kunstkammer (Art Room) at the Kunsthistorisches Museum has reopened. Completely renovated, the gallery is once again showcasing the Habsburg dynasty’s exceptional collection of art and wonders. Here is a trove of sculptures and bronzes by such giants as Donatello and Giambologna, the world’s greatest collection of Baroque carved-ivory figures, and glorious Baroque silver goblets and vessels, as well as magically endowed natural wonders, such as ostrich eggs mounted in jewels, gold, and silver gilt. Pride of place is held by the Cellini saltcellar, which was found nearly 3 years after its disappearance in the woods 55 miles north of Vienna, as were the thieves. It had been buried underground and survived in perfect condition. With text by the museum’s director, Sabine Haag, and the curator of the Kunstkammer, Franz Kirchweger, alongside specially commissioned photography, this book celebrates a marvelous collection, at last reunited.
This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press's mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1985.