The Kunstkammer and the Early Modern Consort: Knowledge, Networks and Influences

Engraving of Anna of Denmark, Simon de Passe, London, England, 1616, E.3113-1960. Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Project Information:

Dr Lisa Skogh

The Kunstkammer and the Early Modern Consort: Knowledge, Networks and Influences 

This project explores an important yet neglected aspect of early modern patronage. It aims at investigating how the consorts of continental male rulers played a significant part in shaping displays of power through artistic patronage and collecting. The project focuses upon the Kunstkammer (cabinet of curiosities) and Pretiosa collections (collectibles of precious materials), political tools intended to display splendour, knowledge and ambition. It will analyse how patronage and collecting phenomena from Northern continental Europe fed into wider networks of influences, which also shaped patronage at the British Court. The key role of Anna of Denmark (1574-1619) will be compared with case-studies from the influential court culture of Electoral Dresden. The project will shed light on these topics of increasing scholarly interest, by shifting emphasis to the activities of female consorts. Kunstkammern are fundamentally about the discovery of the world: the far-away, but also the immediate territory. Collections simultaneously expressed absolute power, new knowledge, and expanding networks. The importance of researching the Kunstkammer as an early modern phenomenon lies with its strong connection to the development of the modern state, hence the arts between philosophical, political and economic ideas, and the role of the consort was far from insignificant.

Intended outcome

The outcome of the project will be a scholarly article leading to a book proposal. The project will also strongly collaborate with the existing major project Europe Galleries 16-00-1800  on the new permanent gallery of early modern Europe at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Project Lead:

Dr. Lisa Skogh. Lisa is a Wenner-Gren Fellow, with additional funding from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and Kungl. Vetenskapsakademien.

Related Links

Academia.edu: Lisa Skogh
Lives and Letters

 

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