November 16, 2020

Now Available in English for the First Time, a Seminal Work in the History of Art and Collecting

Now Available in English for the First Time, a Seminal Work in the History of Art and Collecting


LOS ANGELES, CA—Julius von Schlosser’s Die Kunst- und Wunderkammern der Spätrenaissance (Art and Curiosity Cabinets of the Late Renaissance) is a seminal work in the history of art and collecting.

Originally published in German in 1908, it was the first study to interpret sixteenth- and seventeenth-century cabinets of wonder as precursors to the modern museum, situating them within a history of collecting going back to Greco-Roman antiquity. In its comparative approach and broad geographical scope, Schlosser’s book introduced an interdisciplinary and global perspective to the study of art and material culture, laying the foundation for museum studies and the history of collections. Although available in both French and Italian, it has never before been translated into English.

The eloquent and informed translation in Art and Curiosity Cabinets of the Late Renaissance: A Contribution to the History of Collecting (Getty Publications, $65.00) is preceded by an astute introduction by editor Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann. Tracing Schlosser’s biography and intellectual formation in Vienna at the turn of the twentieth century, it contextualizes his work among that of his contemporaries, offering a wealth of insights along the way.



Julius von Schlosser was an Austrian professor, curator, museum director, and leading figure of the Vienna School of art history whose work has not achieved the prominence of his contemporaries until now.



Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann is Frederick Marquand Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. Author and editor of numerous books, articles, and reviews, he has received honorary doctorates from universities in Brno and Dresden, among other distinctions. He is a fellow of the Swedish, Flemish, and Polish Academies of Science and of the American Academies in Rome and Berlin.



Jonathan Blower is an architectural historian and a translator of German texts on the visual arts.




“This first English translation of Julius von Schlosser’s classic study of the Kunstkammer (1908) is a cause for celebration by anyone interested in the history of collections. Directly or indirectly, his book inspired a legion of studies on early modern art and curiosity cabinets, a subject that continues to captivate our imagination and has shaped the appearance of some museum displays. Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann’s penetrating introduction examines Schlosser, his intellectual contributions as a curator and teacher, his place within Viennese art history around 1900, and his subsequent reputation.”—Jeffrey Chipps Smith, Kay Forsten Chair in European Art, University of Texas, Austin

“This authoritative and thoughtful English translation by Jonathan Blower with an introduction on Schlosser’s place in the history of art by the polymathic doyen of art history, Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann, itself forms a milestone in the still-burgeoning scholarly literature on Kunstkammer collections.”—Pamela H. Smith, Seth Low Professor of History, and Director, Center for Science and Society, Columbia University

“This fascinating publication not only illuminates the history of art history through Schlosser’s pioneering study from the early twentieth century, but also offers new insight into important dimensions of the culture of turn-of-the-century Vienna in which Schlosser participated as an art historian. This book will be of great interest to scholars of art history specializing in art collecting and collections, cabinets of wonders or curiosities, and Habsburg culture."—Larry Wolff, Professor of History, New York University and author of The Singing Turk: Ottoman Power and Operatic Emotions on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon

“It was an excellent idea to make Schlosser’s classic work—which everyone interested in collections and museums should read—available in English. The translation is enriched by an introduction by Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann that situates Schlosser in his milieu, Vienna circa 1900, and brings him back to life.”—Peter Burke, Professor Emeritus of Cultural History, University of Cambridge

“Schlosser’s book is a classic of art history: still a standard text for all students of the first great age of collecting, but one which, previously unavailable in English, had remained unfamiliar to a wider audience. This translation, whose virtuosity matches that of Schlosser’s original writing, is here combined with a superb appreciation by Kaufmann of the author’s life and works.” —R.J.W. Evans, Regius Professor of History emeritus, University of Oxford



Art and Curiosity Cabinets of the Late Renaissance

A Contribution to the History of Collecting

Julius von Scholsser

Edited by Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann

Translation by Jonathan Blower

Getty Research Institute

232 pages, 7 x 10 inches, paperback

7 color and 103 b/w illustrations, 1 line drawing

ISBN 978-1-60606-665-2

US $65.00, UK £55.00


PUBLICATION DATE: January 19, 2021



Maureen Winter, Getty Publications

(310) 440-6117


About Getty Publications

Getty Publications produces award-winning titles that result from or complement the work of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Conservation Institute, and Getty Research Institute. This wide variety of books covers the fields of art, photography, archaeology, architecture, conservation, and the humanities for both the general public and specialists. Publications include illustrated works on artists and art history, exhibition catalogues, works on cultural history, research on the conservation of materials and archaeological sites, scholarly monographs, critical editions of translated works, comprehensive studies of Getty’s collections, and educational books on art to interest children of all ages.

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