The Feather Book of Dionisio Minaggio

The Feather Book of Dionisio Minaggio, also referred to in Italian as Il bestiario barocco (The Baroque Bestiary), is a collection of 156 pictures made almost entirely from bird feathers augmented with pieces of bird skin, feet, and beaks. They were created between 1616 and 1618 by Dionisio Minaggio, the chief gardener of the Duchy of Milan and were originally bound into a book. The majority of pictures in the book are of birds indigenous to the Lombardy region of Italy at the time, but it also contained sets of other images depicting hunters, tradesmen, musicians, and commedia dell’arte characters. (Wikipedia)There are amusing scenes of everyday life: a patient suffering in the hands of a dentist, a man playing a melody on a pipe, and waiting for his dog to “do her things” — musicians, artisans and actors, birds and plants.
At that time, Milan was ruled by Spain, and the Spaniards were familiar with the art of the pen widely practiced in Central and South America. Although the style and methods were very different, it is possible that knowledge about this art form served as inspiration. Still, this is only an educated guess.To this day, we do not have the faintest idea why Dionisio Minaggio created such an unusual for the time book, and who, if anyone, commissioned it.

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