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Part of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts
Date: ca. 1502–4Accession Number: 1998.205
Matthias Walbaum (Kiel, Germany 1554–1632 Augsburg, active Augsburg 1579–1632)
Date: 1598–1600Accession Number: 17.190.823
Gerhard Emmoser (working 1556, died 1584)
Date: 1579Accession Number: 17.190.636
Hans Daucher (German, ca. 1485–1538)
Date: ca. 1520Accession Number: 1999.29
Joachim Friess (ca. 1579–1620, master 1610)
Date: ca. 1620Accession Number: 17.190.746
Hans van Amsterdam (recorded 1535–65)
Date: 1533/34Accession Number: 17.190.622a, b
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Hanging on the walls of this gallery are tapestries woven from richly colored wool and silk threads, some of which were wrapped with gilt metal that glimmered in the candlelight. Their grand narratives—adapted from the Bible, mythology, and other literary sources—are framed by borders of flowers, fruit, and fantastic figures. A particularly costly and prestigious form of palace and church decoration, such tapestries were designed to convey their owner's prestige while also offering protection from drafts. In the late fifteenth century, Brussels emerged as a leading manufacturing center, producing finely woven tapestries that incorporate many effects found in painting.
Northern European craftsmen also excelled in sculpture, metalwork, and highly specialized scientific instruments. Among the items displayed in the center of the gallery are automata crafted from precious metals and cups made from rock crystal and other rare materials, encased in elaborate mounts. These works are representative of the prized objects typically kept in a collector's cabinet, known in German as a Kunstkammer. From natural wonders to man-made inventions, the contents of these small rooms were meant to provide their wealthy owners with a microcosmic vision of the world.
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