A Matter of Amusement: The Material Culture of Philipp Hainhofer's Games in Early Modern Princely Collections
|Förlag||Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis|
Games were important to the Augsburg art agent Philipp Hainhofer (1578-1647) and this ludic category was included in most of his art cabinets. It offered amusement as part of an overall ambition for the cabinets to be of both service and use. Board games, dice, packs of cards and games of both chance and skill represented many of the various game types of their day, while constituting a material taxonomy of games. The encyclopaedic ambition of a Kunstkammer is apparent, and games provide an insight into courtly practices of the early modern period. </br></br> This thesis investigates Hainhofer’s relationship with games through the materiality of the extant games of his art cabinets – board games, playing cards, miscellaneous games and games paraphernalia. Via a material culture studies framework, it sets their design in a late Renaissance context while also examining how contemporary game practices influenced game design and use. Further, the games, their placements within the cabinets and other associated material traces are used to reconstruct original, now lost, games and how they would function in an art cabinet. </br></br> It further explores the progression of Hainhofer attitudes towards games over a period of more than thirty years, and devises the hypothesis that he, to a certain degree, formed, rather than conformed to, the taste of his patrons and clients in terms of games. Games were evidently required by Hainhofer to be at the inventive and artistic forefront, just as important as technical, scientific, natural or colonial discoveries would be to any Kunstkammer owner.