06. 12. 2023 – 10. 03. 2024
Curator: Jiří Fronek
Exhibition design: Tomáš Džadoň
Graphic design: Vladimír Vimr
An exclusive selection of rare cabinets from the collections of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, the National Heritage Institute, and regional and private collections
Cabinets from the 16th and 17th centuries are among the most interesting works in the history of craftsmanship. Their sophisticated decoration was only possible thanks to collaboration between many different specialists such as cabinetmakers, engravers, stonecutters, goldsmiths, sculptors and painters. A cabinet’s primary purpose was to serve as a repository for precious objects, and this, together with its exquisite craftsmanship, meant it departed from the usual categories of furniture making. It played a supreme role in the age of Mannerism and the Early Baroque, when as a “Kunstkammer en miniature” it became a work of art in its own right, representing the complex intellectual world of modern natural philosophy. At this time the cabinet began to be seen and appreciated as a precious collector’s item, an opulent showpiece that reflected its owner’s status.
The cabinets on display represent the important historical collections of the Houses of Austria-Este, Schwarzenberg, Lobkowicz, Wallenstein, Auersperg and others. This is the first time these unique cabinets from various collections have been assembled in one place; indeed for some of them it is the first time they have ever left their original locations.
The exhibition has been organised by the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague in collaboration with the National Heritage Institute and Lobkowicz Collections, o. p. s.