Collecting Knowledge: More than just a catchy exhibition title

walnut cabinet

Bambocci cabinet, Italian, sixteenth century, walnut, gift of Mr. and Mrs. L. Boyd Hatch, Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah

The exhibition Collecting Knowledge: Renaissance Cabinets of Curiosity officially opened this week. This exhibition was curated by four graduate students in the U of U Department of Art and Art History. The students enrolled in a course last fall semester where they worked closely with the UMFA staff and a faculty advisor to create this exhibition. The class was instructed to create an exhibition that primarily used  16th and 17th century works on paper from the UMFA’s European collection. The students reflected on how many of these prints were once housed within cabinets of curiosity. Cabinets of curiosity were the precursor to the modern museum. Wealthy or middle class collectors would assemble prints and objects from around the world and store them in a cabinet, closet, corner or room. As collectors gathered items, they expanded their own knowledge about history, world cultures, art, the natural world, and scientific progress.

Student Curators and UMFA Staff gathered around a table

Student Curators and UMFA Staff engaged in the planning proccess

Just as their renaissance counterpoints collected knowledge through their cabinets, these four student curators have collected their own set of knowledge regarding renaissance works on paper and the business of exhibition making as they have created this fascinating exhibition.

Collecting Knowledge: Renaissance Cabinets of Curiosity will be on view through May 15, 2011.

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