Gustavianum

The Augsburg Art Cabinet

The Swedish King Gustav II Adolf received the Augsburg Art Cabinet as a gift from the city councillors of Augsburg in 1632, during the Thirty Years’ War.
The Art Cabinet was housed in Uppsala Castle during Queen Kristina's time as regent and was donated in 1694 to Uppsala University by King Karl XI. The Art Cabinet was placed in the university building Gustavianum and stands today in its original position.

1 000 objects

The Art Cabinet is a fantastic work of art. Each side is unique, with every surface covered to the minutest detail with rich decorations and hundreds of miniature paintings.
The visible boxes and secret compartments contain about 1,000 objects, each of which reflects the knowledge of the time.
The top of the Cabinet is crowned by a ’mountain’ formed from natural history objects from the depths of the sea and the interior of the Earth. Neptune, god of the sea, stands here, bearing on his shoulders a silver-mounted Seychelles double coconut shaped into the likeness of a ship carrying Venus, the goddess of love.


A dried baby crocodile

The Art Cabinet serves as a universal museum in miniature, and also illustrates the 17th century’s enthusiasm for collecting. Like the princely art chambers, the collection represents both naturalia and artificialia, that is, nature and artistry. When Gustav II Adolf was shown the Art Cabinet, he saw, in addition to beautiful art treasures and miniatures, exotic objects, new inventions and technically complex things. Among other things, there was a dried crocodile, ivory sculptures, scientific instruments, a basket carved from a cherry stone, and games of various kinds.

The Cabinet also contains a number of practical, useable objects, including a removable spinet (a keyboard instrument) with an automatic mechanism that plays three different tunes, a writing desk, a toiletry cupboard, a brass clock, a folding table and a portable pharmacy.

Visit the Art Cabinet online

Now it is possible for you to explore the Augsburg Art Cabinet on your own. With the aid of the virtual presentation you can delve into the interior of the cabinet, study its details, or find out more about its history.

In the object data base you will find information about the approximately 150 objects from the cabinet that are exhibited in Gustavianum.

Make a virtual journey through the interior of the cabinet in the Augsburg Art Cabinet online. You will need to have a Flash player installed on your computer.