The Augsburg Art Cabinet is a fabulous work of art, full of drawers and secret compartments. There we find about a thousand objects that were to reflect the knowledge of the 17th century – everything from medical instruments, such as ear ladles and pox glasses to various kinds of games and natural objects, including a desiccated baby crocodile. The cabinet also contained practically useful items, such as a spinet with an automatic playing mechanism, toilet articles, and a travel apothecary. Every surface is filled with decorations and miniature paintings.
It was the Protestant burghers in Augsburg, Germany, who gave the cabinet to Gustavus Adolphus during the Thirty Years’ War. It was placed in Uppsala Castle before being donated to Uppsala University in 1694. The Art Cabinet was located in what was then the University Main Building, the present-day Museum Gustavianum, where it now stands once again. A virtual presentation has been available at the museum since last spring, and this is now being uploaded to the Net.
“It’s truly exciting to use modern digital technology to show off the Art Cabinet in all its splendor. This is a pioneering achievement in the museum world and represents a tremendous boost for the museum,” says Ing-Marie Munktell, head of the museum.
Through the virtual presentation, visitors can look into the interior of the cabinet, study its details, or delve into its history. Museum Gustavianum staff have discussed with upper-secondary schools how the Art Cabinet can be used in teaching. The virtual presentation covers some one hundred of the objects for the time being, the same ones that are on display at the museum.
“Our ambition is to successively add more objects that are in storage today. In other words, it will be possible in the future to see items on the Internet that are not on exhibit at the museum,” says Anna Sjögren, project director at Uppsala University Art Collections, Museum Gustavianum.