Last weekend I visited Berlin’s Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts) and discovered the existence of the little treasures from the Pomeranian Kunstschrank (art cabinet) owned by Duke Philipp II. The art cabinet itself was destroyed in 1945 during World War II, but to my surprise, many of the gifts kept inside its numerous drawers remained intact and were on display. The cabinet was orchestrated by Philipp Hainhofer, German art dealer and impressario of the 17th century. Think of him as a producer who selected the artists, silversmiths, and craftsmen responsible for creating such a work.

A film entitled “Welt im Schrank” (World in the Cabinet) played continuously alongside the display of items from the cabinet. Made before the cabinet’s destruction, the film showed how each section of the Kunstschrank could be opened to display the hidden treasures inside each drawer. Removal of the crowning sculpture of Mount Parnassus with Pegasus led to the section below. Some of the beautiful objects revealed in the film were displayed in nearby glass cabinets: metal playing cards, carved ivory chess pieces, small paintings, apothecary bottles, small to large jars that fit into one another like Russian dolls, a heart-shaped silver place setting, toiletries such as an ivory comb, razor (intricately designed, of course), shaving brush, and much more.

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