The Crowning Glory : A material analysis of the top decoration of the Uppsala Augsburg Art Cabinet
Abstract: The top decoration of the Uppsala Augsburg Art Cabinet has been investigated from a material perspective. Starting out from identifying the constituting materials, then analyzing their positions and correlations with each other and to further consider the contextual environment in terms of the materials accessibility and symbolic meaning in 16th and 17th Century Europe, representational manifestations have been observed. The obvious manifestations are: power, status and wealth all embodied in a symbiosis of natural and artificial, raw and crafted materials from the marine world and earth. The top decoration contrast to the corpus by its seemingly raw materials and asymmetric assemblage. On the other hand, the top decoration correlates to the corpus with: the natural materials, the fulfillment of the categories outlined by Quiccheberg of what a scholarly art cabinet ought to contain, and in the love narratives at display. The top decoration’s symbolic representation is the Birth of Venus myth. In elevating these natural materials into an art installation, their aesthetics and essence invited to a reflection of them as symbols and possible keys to a deeper knowledge of the universe in its contemporary princely European courts; constituting a microcosmos.
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