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All knowledge, the cosmos arranged on shelves, in cupboards, or hanging from the ceiling, ‘infinite riches in a little room’ – such were the cabinets of curiosities of the 17th century. This survey, now available in a compact edition, traces the amazing history of cabinets of curiosities, from their first appearance in the inventories and engravings commissioned by Renaissance nobles such as the Medici or the Hapsburgs, via those of the Dane Ole Wurm and the Italian polymath Athanasius Kircher, to the serious 17th- and 18th-century scientists Elias Ashmole and Levinas Vincent.
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