There was no single prevailing Renaissance theory as to what the fossils were.
The items on display in the Gettysburg Collection Cabinet are present-day decorative stone pieces, carved out of marbleized fossil beds from the Sahara Desert region of Morocco[…]
Paintings were objects of great value […]Paintings expressed wealth, intellect, and power, but they also could express religious convictions.
Snakes were included because they were known to be venomous and this was a reminder of the mortality of humanity, something the cabinets often included in their many themes.
Letters, chronicles, works of fiction, and visual arts in the sixteenth century reveal that the discovery of the New World engaged the popular imagination, as images of the encounter was able to spread faster with the development of the printing press.
The collection of insects was a very specialized and complicated process that required patience, perseverance, and a good eye.
Perhaps it was the mystery of fossils’ origins that led to collection and subsequent illustration or perhaps it was the almost alien beauty they exhibited.
Fish were a frequent subject of scientific inquiry during the 16th and 17th centuries, due to their heavy symbolism and representation at the time.
The bronze Mercury statue presented in the Gettysburg Cabinet exemplifies the god’s quickness, a copy of one of the most famous statue from the Renaissance.
People could view a representation of the world in maps, both literally and figuratively, and they thus mimicked the goal of numerous cabinets in serving as a microcosm of the cosmos, or a teatro mundi.