GRAPHIC:  University of Chicago Magazine
Classified Knowledge
Captions are drawn from exhibition descriptions by Naomi Hume, a graduate student in art history.
IMAGE:  Classified Knowledge

Selected Specimens

Albert Seba (1665–1736). Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri accurata descriptio. Amsterdam: apud J. Wetstenium, 1734–1765. Volume 2 of 4.

Albert Seba prided himself upon the extent and rarity of his natural-history collection, which he had painstakingly brought together through contacts with travelers returning to Amsterdam. An apothecary, Seba supplemented traditional recipes with his search for new ones, studying and testing exotic raw ingredients. His medicines were famous enough that Peter the Great had them sent to him in Russia. The Czar was equally impressed with Seba’s curiosities: in 1717 he visited Seba in Amsterdam and bought them all. Seba immediately began to collect again, and his second collection formed the basis for this publication. He commissioned artists to make drawings and had them published as copper engravings along with his own commentary.

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