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XXL books are a minimum 39 cm (15.4 in.)

Massimo Listri. Cabinet of Curiosities

150Edition: Multilingual (English, French, German)Availability: In Stock
Cabinets of curiosities fascinated people of the 16th and 17th centuries. From crocodiles, minerals, and corals to paintings, ivory trophies, measuring instruments, and incredible automata, it was a glimpse into a world full of natural wonders and treasures that aimed to reflect the order of the universe. This magnificent volume takes us through the world’s most beautiful collections, into the Medici treasury or the Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe) of Dresden, and offers no less than a brief cultural history of the miraculous.
Hardcover11.4 x 15.6 in.10.03 lb356 pages
“… a sumptuously illustrated volume of wonders.”
The Times
“It is massive and full of some compellingly repulsive things… but it is also absolutely fascinating.”
The Financial Times
“This is the kind of book you see in photos of new and expensive interiors or come across in boutique hotel lobbies.”
The Financial Times
“How such a magnificent beast – replete with diverse papers and a breathtaking gatefold spread – can be made for the price is quite astonishing.”
The World of Interiors
“Altogether this book is a marvel – every turn of the page elicits a gasp of incredulity and delight.”
The World of Interiors
“Travel to Europe’s most eclectic rooms.”
“A delightful, extra-large compendium of collecting.”
Cabinet of Curiosities reveals a weird and wonderful world.”
The Irish Times
“This extra-large volume is full of photographs of some of Europe’s most surreal collections. Dive into a world of carved amber, magic coral and stuffed mermaids.”
The Guardian
“A glimpse inside historic collections of miraculous miscellany.”
Town & Country
“The cabinet of curiosities celebrated the act of collection for its own sake—an almost random accumulation of natural-history specimens and other bizarre objects.”
The Guardian
XXL books are a minimum 39 cm (15.4 in.)
Massimo Listri. Cabinet of Curiosities

Massimo Listri. Cabinet of Curiosities


Wunderkammer of the World

Hidden treasures, dreams of universal knowledge, and exquisite beauty

The Wunderkammer, or “cabinet of curiosities,” saw collectors gathering objects from many strands of artistic, scientific, and intellectual endeavor, in an ambitious attempt to encompass all of humankind’s knowledge in a single room.

From the Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici and Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II to Archduke Ferdinand II of Habsburg, these aristocratic virtuosos acquired, selected, and displayed the objects in real-life catalogues that represented the entire world—spanning architecture, interior design, painting, sculpture, gemology, geology, botany, biology and taxonomy, astrology, alchemy, anthropology, ethnography, and history.

Marvel at the unicorn horns (narwhal tusks), gems, rare coral growths, Murano glasswork, paintings and peculiar mechanical automata. Browse through illustrations of exotic and mythical creatures and discover the famed “Coburg ivories,” an astounding collection of crafted artifacts. These collections are nothing short of a journey through time, from the Renaissance and Age of Discovery, the Mannerist and Baroque periods, up to the present day. Although many of these cabinets of curiosities no longer exist, others have been meticulously reconstructed, and new ones born.

These marvelous cabinets of curiosities can now be explored by all in this XXL collection. To realize this mammoth undertaking, Massimo Listri traveled to seven European countries over several decades; the result is a set of gorgeous photographs, an authoritative yet accessible introduction, and detailed commentary on each of the 19 chambers highlighting the most remarkable items in each collection. Discover how these timeless treasures both describe and defined civilization, the modern concept of the museum, and our very knowledge of the universe.
The photographer

Massimo Listri, a Florence native, is a photographer renowned for his masterful architectural and interior compositions. Known for capturing the opulence and rich histories of palaces, libraries, and museums, his work has been featured in design magazines and, in collaboration with international publishers, been collated into over 70 books. He has photographed numerous notable sites, including the Vatican Library and the Palace of Versailles.

The authors

Antonio Paolucci studied art history under Roberto Longhi in Florence and began his career in the management of cultural heritage. He was the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage in Venice, Verona, and Mantua. He later became Director of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence and, for almost twenty years, the Superintendent for the Polo Museale Fiorentino. Most recently, Paolucci was the Director of the Vatican Museums from 2007 to 2016. A specialist in Italian Renaissance art, he is the author of museum and exhibition catalogues, as well as publications on Donatello, Piero della Francesca, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Benvenuto Cellini, among others.

Giulia ML Carciotto graduated in art history from the Sapienza University in Rome. She was a Research Fellow at the Warburg Institute in London, where she also worked for Christie’s. She was editor-in-chief of the art publisher Franco Maria Ricci Editore in Milan, and now teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo and at the Abadir Academy in Catania.

Massimo Listri. Cabinet of Curiosities
Hardcover29 x 39.5 cm4.55 kg356 pages

ISBN 978-3-8365-4035-3

Edition: Multilingual (English, French, German)
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8 Ratings


Chris,February 11, 2022
After buying and loving Taschen's "Listri: Most Beautiful Libraries" I knew this had to be next on my list. What a gorgeous book! Informative essays and hundreds of images and reproductions. But the full page, large-format photographs of the rooms and objects, put you in right the midst of these "cabinets" - great testaments to collectors and their eye-popping collections.

Très beau livre

Françoise,November 3, 2021
Très beau livre dont les images, accompagnées de textes limpides et intéressants, émerveillent, captivent, dérangent parfois mais ne laissent jamais indifférent.

Visually delicious

John E.,October 28, 2021
Cabinets of curiosities were the forerunners of modern museums, and this book provides a visually lush and highly detailed look at several European cabinets of curiosities. Having written on the history of museums, I found myself examining many of the images with magnifying glass in hand to better study individual objects. The notes and references are very helpful, but it is really the visual impact of this book that makes it worthwhile. Marvelous detail, beautiful images.

Cabinet of curiosity

Andrzej,October 27, 2021
Great book. I recomment

A collector's dream

Libor,October 27, 2021
Each Taschen book is gorgeous, and the Cabinet of Curiosities is exceptional. Perfectly crafted, with beautiful photographs and interesting texts. It will please every collector of interesting objects and beautiful books!