It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

2016 Arts and Archives Tour: Department of Archives and History at the NHM in Vienna

Jan Gabriel Pretre, "Napoleone Imperiale", colorized copper engraving,1804 (Napoleonaea imperialis P.Beauv.). 
This new species was dedicated to Napoleon and presented on Oct. 8  1804 at the Academy of Sciences in Paris. This is the third example known of the depiction (the other two are in Paris and include the the plant description). Since Napoleon had already been exiled on St. Helena when this appeared, the dedication and the Imperial eagle were removed from the later printings. There is no record how this extraordinary print came to the Natural History Museum in Vienna.

The final destination of our 2016 Arts and Archives tour was the Department of Archives and History at the Natural History Museum of Vienna.  The department consists of several main collections; our focus was on the original paintings, i.e., the picture collection. We were also able to visit their conservation unit.  Our excellent guides were the department head and her crew.
We were fortunate to see a fraction of the thousands of original drawings which are housed in this department. Some of the biggest parts of the collections consist of around 2,500 pencil drawings by Ferdinand L.  Bauer (1760 – 1826), purchased by Emperor Franz I, the husband of Maria Theresa during the later part of the 18th century.  The collections also include 3,400 plates of Aaron's rod plants (Araceae) from the Heinrich Wilhelm Schott (1794 – 1865) collection, purchased by Emperor Franz Joseph I, and numerous other picture collections.

I wish we would have had more time to spend here.To see some of the originals we could see, please click here. 

From the picture collection of Heinrich Wilhelm Schott. His collection of mainly the Araceae-family includes 3400 plates. Schott too part in the Brazilian expedition organized by Emperor Franz I in 1817-1821. The gouache painting is by Ed. Nickelli and Wenzel Liepoldt. The collection includes also plates painted by Ferdiand Bauer, Wenzel Liebold, J. Oberer, J. Seboth and Zehner. 

In the end of this visit we also had the possibility to do another Museum Marathon before the Museum of Natural History closed the doors for that Monday.  

The Natural history Museum houses one of the most important mineralogical collections in the world. The 1000 different minerals are systematically arranged in four different halls. 

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