“Le Cabinet d’histoire naturelle” painted by Henri Dupuis himself is not typical of the traditional representations of cabinets of curiosity that illustrate both the collections and their presentation in furniture or the rooms set aside for them.
Here Henri Dupuis painted the idea of the cabinets of curiosity. If the specimens painted seem to come from his collection (it is possible to make out certain characteristic objects and the display cases), the aesthetic arrangement is far removed from the concern for classification, still a delicate subject in Conchology or Geology Rooms in museums and which remind one of the Wunderkammern (Wonder Rooms). In his painting, on the contrary, birds are mixed together with shells and the arrangement avoids systematism.
Henri Dupuis plays the role of an artist here and probably attaches more interest in adhering to the Flemish still life tradition rather than naturalist illustration. The depiction of the textures, the effects of light, the artistic representation of the volume of each object becomes a genuine painting challenge, sustained by the lesson of the old masters.
“Le Cabinet d’histoire naturelle” can therefore be interpreted as the dual record of the visual culture and scientific culture of Henri Dupuis, painter and collector.