Chamber of Art and Wonders
The Kunst- und Wunderkammern (Chambers of Art and Wonders) of the Renaissance were encyclopaedic, universal collections that attempted to reflect the entire knowledge of the day. Particularly desirable were unique, rare, unusual, and precious objects. The term Kunst- und Wunderkammer goes back to the Ambras collection of Archduke Ferdinand II. Already in the 16th century it was regarded as one of the most important of its kind. It is the only Kunstkammer from the Renaissance to have been preserved to this day in the very buildings the collector constructed for them at their original home.
The objects brought together by Ferdinand II were remarkably wide-ranging and all of outstanding quality: crystal objects, silver and gold filigree as well as bronze sculptures, precious glass, wood and evory turnings, coins and weapons. In addition to outstanding artworks and craftsmanshiphe he also desired scientific instruments and unusual musical instruments. Also rare, exotic and extraordinary objects of nature and portraits of people or animals, thought to be »wonders of nature«, were collected. Today it still holds unique pieces, absolute rarities, and contains one of the largest collections of Exotica, i.e. non-European objects of its time.
The present installation of the Kunst- und Wunderkammer goes back to 1974. The faithful reproduction in the hall of the former library is based on the Ambras’ inventories.