Foundation "Rarioa Artis"

Foundation's Data:
NIP: 899 26 85 464
Nr KRS: 0000345946
REGON: 021158377

Foundation "Rariora Artis" was established on December 18, 2009, at suggestion of Dr. Magdalena Palica.

The Foundation's constitutional aims are:

1. Gathering, elaborating and publishing information on private collections of artworks, that once existed in Silesia,

2. Supporting international information exchange on the field described in point 1,

3. Popularizing history of Silesian mania of collectings, as an interesting however little known phenomenon in history of the region.

All of these aims are being carried out within the project „Silesian Art Collections”.

The foundation's name derives from the title of the book Rariora Naturæ & Artis item in Re Medica, oder Seltenheiten der Natur und Kunst des Kundmannischen Naturalien=Cabinets... edited in 1737 by a Wroclaw's renowned physician Johann Christian Kundmann. Mania of collecting was an extremely important range among his activity and the Wunderkammer created by him was among the quaintest cabinets in Silesia. Kundmann's collection was being systematically enlarged and supplied, its character mirrored the creator's comprehensiveness of interests. His collection included exhibits of art and nature, not only local ones but also representing distant exotic lands and cultures. Kundmann's range of interests covered chiefly botany, zoology, minerals, fossiles, precious stones, artworks but also local antiques, script samples of different nations, scientific instruments or numismatics. The Wroclaw's physician's collection included also a library that housed several thousands of volumes.

Kundmann was also publishing a lot but at least his chief work was the book mentioned above, entitled Rariora Naturæ & Artis. It is a collection of issues in which the author gives expression to his scientific opinions and also presents his extensive knowledge on many different subjects. His treatise (having mentioned only a few woofs presented by Kundmann: on the nature of fossiles, on the animals' behaviour, on the causes of weather phenomena, on nutritional customs of different European nations, on the shapes of snowflakes, or the statistics of death and birth rates in Wroclaw, analized by the author) are illustrated with over a dozen of plates.

The book also included a compact German version of the catalogue of Kundmann's collection. The proper catalogue had been edited eleven years before in Latin, entitled Promtuarium Rerum Naturalium & Artificialium Vratislaviense and constituted the second part of the issue. In the first part Kundmann let himself discover not only as owner of an extraordinary collection but first of all as a chronicler vividly interested in the Wroclaw's collectors' milieu - he presented descriptions of Silesian collections, existent between the end of 16th century and 1726. The registers featured by him regarded not only private collections but also public librarires and artworks housed in the Wroclaw's churches.

This range of Johann Christian Kundmann's activity is being invoked within the project Silesian Art Collections. The chronicler's meticulousness of the Wroclaw's physician currently allows us the inquiry in what was once collected, which collections enjoyed fame and acclamation, how rich and extraordinary the collections were. Within centuries the Silesian collections had been overgoing vicissitudes, many collections had been dispersed, numerous artworks deriving from them perished or were destroyed, many artworks have been forgotten. However the phenomenon was and still is an interesting and significant aspect of Silesian cultural life - unfortunately still little known, hence even more worth researching. Reminding personages of Silesian collectors, retreiving the preserved artworks once having belonged to their collections will surely contribute to widenning distinctly the knowledge on history of our region.

(author of the text: Monika Żernik)

Project co-financed by Ministry of Labour and Social Policy under Government Project – Civic Benefit Fund.
All information published under license: Creative Commons