Drawings of fauna from the imperial collection, Austrian National Library

Christina Weiler (ed), Von Fischen, Vögeln und Reptilien: Meisterwerke aus den kaiserlichen Sammlungen (Of fishes, birds and reptiles: masterworks from the imperial collections), Vienna: Kremayr & Scheriau, 2011. ISBN 978-3-218-00837-2 (paperback). Exhibition was held between November 2011 and January 2012.

This is an exhibition catalogue of the pictorial albums of Ferdinand II (Archduke of Tyrol) and Rudolf II. It provides reproduction of images of fauna, both exotic and domestic, from the paper museums of the two famous Habsburg patrons.  Ferdinand’s album contains drawings by Giorgio Liberale, who is perhaps better known as the draughtsman for the woodcuts in Pier Andrea Mattioli’s commentary on Dioscorides’ De materia medica. Rudolf II’s bestiary includes drawings by different hands, such as Dirk de Quade van Ravensteyn and Daniel Fröschel; several of the images are copied from drawings of Hans Hoffmann and Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Images are reproduced from other contemporary sketchbooks produced in Prague, such as the bird album by Jacoppo Ligozzi. There is a brief report on the conservation (pp.130-44) carried out on the drawings. The mss reproduced here are: Cod.Min.42, 83, 129, 130, 131; Cod.Ser.n.2648 and 2669.

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