Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Paper Museum of Cassiano Dal Pozzo

Speaking of Unicorns...

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THE ‘MUSEO CARTACEO’, or ‘Paper Museum’, is a collection of more than 7,000 watercolours, drawings and prints, assembled during the seventeenth century by the famous Roman patron and collector, Cassiano dal Pozzo, and his brother Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo. It represents one of the most significant attempts ever made before the age of photography to embrace all human knowledge in visual form. Documenting ancient art, archaeology, botany, geology, ornithology and zoology, the collection today constitutes a visual database that provides us with a significant tool for understanding the culture and intellectual concerns of a period during which the foundations of our own scientific methods of research and classification were laid down. Moreover, the Paper Museum reflects the taste and intellectual breadth of one of the most learned and enthusiastic of all seventeenth-century Roman collectors. As secretary to Cardinal Francesco Barberini, as well as patron of such artists as Poussin, and a friend of Galileo, Cassiano dal Pozzo crossed the boundaries of artistic, scientific and political disciplines, to create his unique visual encyclopedia.

I was watching a show on youTube from the BBC called the Secret of Lines, and the host was talking to the Royal Librarian and they paged through the folio.

Host: Is that a man with penis on head?

Librarian: Indeed it is. A piece of ancient Babylonian statuary. Remember they wanted pictures of everything.

[moving on]


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