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Now THAT'S a curio cabinet!

I'm not getting paid to endorse, but endorse I shall: The Public Domain Review is a fantastic online publication that plumbs the depths of creative . . . things that have gone way out of copyright and into the public milieu. As their masthead states:

"The Public Domain Review is dedicated to the exploration of curious and compelling works from the history of art, literature, and ideas – focusing on works now fallen into the public domain, the vast commons of out-of-copyright material that everyone is free to enjoy, share, and build upon without restrictions."

It is, simply, a delight. And filled with lots of surprises. Take, for example, their most recent post, which features an essay by Anthony Grafton titled "Marked by Stars" about Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s encyclopedic study of magic. I mean, what? Yeah. It delivers.


Anyway, the essay features this amazing engraving from Ferrante Imperato’s Dell’historia Naturale (1599), which is thought to be the earliest illustration of a natural history curio cabinet. Check it out:


Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:RitrattoMuseoFerranteImperato.jpg

Now, just take a minute and gaze at that beauty. I'm constantly seeing new things. I also wonder what the men in jaunty hats are discussing. Perhaps they're pointing to my current favorite thing in this engraving, which is the seemingly smiley fellow in the upper left corner:


Not sure what that's supposed to be, but I'm here for it. Also a fan of the alligator (crocodile?) that appears glued to the ceiling. And now I ask you: is this a curio cabinet or IS THIS A CURIO CABINET? Damn those Renaissance men, setting the bar unreasonably high way back in 1599.


A girl can dream.

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