Renaissance Cabinets of Curiosity, an exhibition organized and presented by a group of graduate students from the University of Utah, opened at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts on Thursday, January 27.
This unique exhibit will feature prints done by various 16th and 17th century artists such as Pieter Bruegel the Eldeer, Albrecht Duer, and Rembrant Harmensz van Rijn.
“Art is one way to get the bone mechanics of our world,” graduate student Stephanie Hohlois said.
Before there were museums, wealthy collectors put together “cabinets of curiosity” that contained artwork, scientific instruments, cultural oddities, and mysterious specimens, housed in rooms or pieces of furniture.
The Cabinets of Curiosity exhibit examines the people who created the original cabinets of curiosity, their strategies for classifying and grouping collected items, and how they used their knowledge to make sense of the world around them.
The exhibition gives patrons the opportunity to visit the Renaissance model of private study and reflection in a physical space.
It features 36 objects from the permanent collection of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.
Exhibition highlights include a 16th century Italian cabinet and a display case with objects that would have been found in a cabinet of curiosity. There is also a rare book from the collection at the University’s J. Willard Marriott Library.
Cabinets of Curiosity was organized by four graduate students of the University: Amanda Beardley, Scotti Hill, Stephanie Hohlios, and Laura Hurtado. They worked hard through the 2010 fall semester to have the exhibition ready to open by Jan. 27 and are very excited about presenting the exhibition.
“We put it together in one semester. It usually takes two years to put together an exhibit,” Beardsley said.
University of Utah Professor of Art History Sheila Muller supervised the students, along with other museum staff.
The students were able to determine thematic elements, intended audience, featured objects, label information, and related programming for the Cabinets of Curiosity exhibition.
“[Cabinets of Curiosity] has given us the opportunity to collaborate with museum staff and apply museum practices in a way that cannot be duplicated in a classroom,” Hohlios said. “For those of us who are pursuing a career in museum work, curating a real exhibition is a rare and invaluable experience.”
The Museum of Fine Arts is located in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building on the University of Utah campus at 410 Campus Center Drive.
Salt Lake Community College students gain free admission with a student ID.
The museum is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m, and weekends from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. More information can be found by calling 801-581-7332 or by visiting their website at umfa.utah.edu.