Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Cabinets de Curiosités


"Learned gentlemen should build a goodly, huge cabinet, wherein whatsoever the hand of man by exquisite art or engine has made rare in stuff, form or motion; whatsoever singularity, chance, and the shuffle of things hath produced; whatsoever Nature has wrought in things that want life and may be kept; shall be sorted and included."

~ Francis Bacon

A grotesque craze was sweeping across Renaissance Europe at the turn of the 17th century:

The wealthy and the well-connected were hoarding things — obscure things — into encyclopedic personal collections that became Cabinets de Curiosités (Cabinets of Curiosities, Wunderkammern, or Cabinets of Wonder).

Starfish, armadillos, parrots, monkey teeth, two-headed calves, alligator skins, phosphorescent minerals, Indian canoes, mummified mermaids and unicorn tails were acquired eagerly and indiscriminately.

The cabinets emphasized the exceptional, the rare, and the marvelous, attempting to reflect the results both of God's creation (nature) and of man's skill (art) in "a small compass, a model of the universal made private" (Francis Bacon).

Eventually, these cabinets became the first museums of science, natural history, medicine, ethnography, and art, depending on how curators (mostly doctors, pharmacists and scientists) chose to arrange their accumulated treasures (c.f. pictures below).

European explorers and conquerors played a leading role in the popularization of the cabinets:

They regularly brought back incredible and inscrutable artifacts from the New World and the Far East, objects whose existence brought into question the centrality of Europe and the primacy of its culture.




Cabinet of Curiosities

Enchanting tour through a Cabinet de Curiosités presented by The International Cryptozoology Museum.

Cabinets de curiosités

A French website providing indepth background information on Cabinets de Curiosités in the XVI and XVII centuries.

The New York Public Library

Collection of websites that provide further information regarding the general history of the Cabinets de Curiosités, specific figures and collections.

Ashmolean Museum

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is one of the few remaining museums with an original nucleus from a Cabinet de Curiosités.

Kongens Kunstkammer - The King's Kunstkammer

The King's Kunstkammer is an Internet exhibition, which is a partial reconstruction of the Royal Danish Kunstkammer which was established by King Frederik III in the mid-1600s.


Founded to Peter the Great’s Decree, the Russian Kunstkammer opened to the public in 1714. Its purpose was to collect and examine natural and human curiosities and rarities.

Kunstkammer Georg Laue

At 56 Schelling Strasse in Munich, Georg Laue presents unusual works of art and unique Kunstkammer objects of museum quality which can be both admired and acquired there.

Web Wunderkammer

A collection of curiosities presented by the world's most interesting persons.

Radio Guy

Offering and collecting oddball and scary scientific stuff such as industrial masks and helmets, motors, tools, radios, and electrostatic devices.

The Zymoglyphic Museum

"The world's only repository for the study and display of Zymoglyphic art, artifacts, and natural history."

The Mütter Museum

The Museum's collections include over 20,000 objects, including fluid-preserved anatomical and pathological specimens, medical instruments, anatomical and pathological models, items of memorabilia of famous scientists and physicians, and medical illustrations.


Entomologie | Naturalisation | Minéralogie | Zoologie | Botanique | Curiosités

The Museum of Jurassic Technology

"... guided along as it were a chain of flowers into the mysteries of life..."

The Lost Museum

Who burned down the museum? ...

A Case of Curiosities

Taxidermy becomes art as well as craft in the avowedly non-whimsical work of Tia Resleure.

Mouse Angel

The enchanting and dreamy taxidermy works of Jeanie M.


A photographic journey by Sara Lanod.

The Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists

"The Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists (MART) is dedicated to the showmanship of oddities, natural adaptation and mutation and displays of curiosity through taxidermy and use of animals."

Members include: Sarina J. Brewer, Scott Bibus, Robert Marbury, Acataphasia Grey, Burnaby Q. Orbax and Miranda Winn.

Hamster Taxidermy

"Nothing says Good Taste like Art made from Vermin!"

Victorian & Edwardian Taxidermy

A comprehensive Edward Gerrard timeline.

Christopher Linney Taxidermy

"If you are looking for Cased Fish, Big Game Trophies, Victorian Taxidermy, Edwardian Taxidermy, The Unusual, The Intriguing, Absolute Junk - look no further!"

Heads & Tails Taxidermy

David McKinley's stunning taxidermy showroom.

Obscura Antiques & Oddities

Nomen est omen.


A curio shop that gives you a little something to hold on to - a finger here, a rabbit foot there.

Taxidermy Furniture Part I | Part II

From The Strand, vol. XII (1895), "Animal Furniture," by William G. Fitzgerald.

The Taxidermy Thread

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