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The inventive talents of David Roentgen are evident in this exceptionally refined desk. The monogram "DR" inlaid beneath the keyhole on the lower drawer indicates the cabinetmaker's satisfaction with one of his most mechanically ingenuous creations: a single key inserted at different depths unlocks the center drawer, releases the rolltop, or releases the hidden side drawers; if a button is pressed on the underside of these drawers, each swings aside to reveal three other drawers. Above the rolltop, the rectangular structure consists of a single wide drawer. The artist's creativity is evident in the chinoiserie marquetry scenes, created by using minute pieces of naturally colored exotic woods that have a painterly effect.
See Collections to learn more about this desk.
This desk is featured in the exhibition Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens (on view October 30, 2012–January 27, 2013).
David Roentgen: Long-Case Clock
The Roentgens' Berlin Secretary Cabinet
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Rolltop Desk by David Roentgen: Demonstration
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Rolltop Desk by David Roentgen: Animation
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Paolo Giordano II Orsini, Duke of Bracciano
Pope Innocent X (Giovanni Battista Pamphili, reigned 1644-55)
Pope Benedict XIV (Prosper Lambertini, 1675–1758, r. 1740–58)
Bust of Christ
Urban VIII (Pope, 1623-44)
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This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 550
This bust was cast at the Vatican foundry, probably by Giovanni Artusa da Piscina, after a model by Cafà.
Signature: signed and dated on back of cape: MELCHIOR. CAFA/MELITENSIS / FAC. AN DOM. / MDCLXVII
Pope Alexander VII (until d. 1667) ; Baron Gustave de Rothschild , Paris ; by descent to Baroness Rothschild-Lambert , Paris ; [ Stiebel Ltd. , New York (until 1957; sold to MMA) ]
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