Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Gothic Art in Spotlight: Cabinets of wonder by Christine Davenne and Christine Fleurent

This post is about an art book, if one likes to call it that or a reference book. The book is Cabinets of wonder by Christine Davenne (text) and Christine Fleurent (photos). I got the version in English, but the original is in French. I bought it in Oslo, Norway a few months ago.

This book is about cabinets of curiosities and wonder, why people have started to make them, collect things and organize them. According to Christine Davenne, cabinets of curiosities are closely linked to the evolution and progress of arts and science. They reflect the ideas of Renaissance and are practically little museums.

The content of Cabinets of wonder is divided into six chapters and those chapters are of different themes the cabinets may have. The chapter named 'Exoticae: Monsters from Elswhere' is sure to interest a goth. Cabinets of Exoticae are filled with oddities, peculiar and grotesque items or individuals, for example deformed Siamese twins skull or a 'mermaid' which is unfortunately a forgery.

On left the Mermaid, on right a stuffed guitarfish.
It would be awesome to own a cabinet of curiosities, even though those little exhibitions tend to collect dust. This book is not a DIY manual, but it is a wide presentations of different cabinets of wonder from different periods of time and the final chapter is 'The Cabinet of Wonder Today' with a subtitle 'In which the cabinet of curiosities has become the model for contemporary art exhibition.' After reading this, one could very well start to collect and create her or his own cabinet.

These are from the Cabinets of scientific interests.
In summary, the photos in this book are beautiful and many of them are creepy too and the text is intelligent and provokes new thoughts about our culture and humanity.


  1. Cool, thanks for sharing! Looks like a very interesting book! I´ve had the idea to collect feathers and twigs recently, also to decorate my altar a little bit :)

    1. Thanks. :) Your idea sounds great, but are you collecting the feathers from nature? There might be bugs and vermin. :( I think decorating an altar or one's home makes it more one's own! :D