Albertus Seba, Amsterdam’s purveyor to Tsar Peter’s Kunstkamera
The opening exhibition of the Amsterdam Shell Museum honours one of the founders of modern natural science, pharmacist Albertus Seba (1665-1736) of Amsterdam. In 1700 Seba started collecting natural curiosities which he obtained from sailors returning to Amsterdam from distant parts of the world. In 1716 Seba sold his entire collection to tsar Peter the Great, who had it placed in his newly built Kunstkamera in St. Petersburg. Seba immediately began a new collection which he documented in colourful etchings, reproductions of which are used for this exhibition.
Gemma van Schendelen’s cabinets with beach finds can be viewed as modern variations of Albert Seba’s etchings. Just like Seba, the artist Van Schendelen is inspired by the diversity and the beauty of the forms and colours nature has to offer. In her work Van Schendelen searches for new abstract forms that are hidden in nature.