Cassiano dal Pozzo was one of the most cultivated and scientifically curious of all Italian patrons in the 17th century. He was pre-eminent in the intellectual life of Europe, was a close friend of Galileo and was consulted from far afield and visited by such men as John Evelyn, who remarked on his choice library and collections. In 1623 he became Private Secretary to Cardinal Francesco Barberini, nephew of Pope Urban VIII, and formed his own collections. His Museo Cartaceo (paper museum), library and scientific collections were perhaps the first examples of collections organised for the purposes of study and research rather than simply being a Wunderkammer. His curiosity extended to all kinds of natural phenomena, and these drawings formed part of that enquiry.