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Curiosity & Enlightenment

Collectors & Collections from the 16th to the 18th Century

written by Arthur MacGregor

Yale University Press | ISBN 9780300124934

Hardback – 288 pages


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This fascinating and unique book offers a history of museum collecting in western Europe over the course of its formative centuries, tracing its origins from the culture of collecting that emerged during the Renaissance, which served the purposes of both prestige and academic enquiry, and concluding with the great changes of the nineteenth century which would prove so influential to the museum movement of later years. Taking into account both individual collectors and public institutions, Arthur MacGregor covers topics such as the methods by which materials from both the manmade and natural world were selected and displayed, problems of preservation and presentation, the specialization of individual areas, such as fine arts, antiquities or natural history, as well as the developments of the nineteenth century which brought such collections within the reach of a much wider public. With the aid of 200 images, this book offers for the first time a wide-ranging survey of this entire process as well as the changing preoccupations of collectors, all set within a broader social context.

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