Watch a video to find out.
Stay logged in
Go to Navigation
Go to Content
Go to Search
Search the collections
Please enable flash to view this media. Download the flash player.
Please enable flash to view this media.
Download the flash player.
Watch a demonstration of Queen Marie Antoinette's Automaton playing one of eight melodies it can perform.
David Roentgen (1743–1807) took his royal patron by surprise when he delivered this beautiful automaton to King Louis XVI for his queen, Marie Antoinette, in 1784. The cabinetry for this piece is very much a neoclassical masterwork, and the mechanism behind it is truly extraordinary: the figure strikes the strings in perfect rhythm with two small metal hammers held in her hands, which move with great precision.
This object, from the Musée des arts et métiers de Paris, is featured in the exhibition Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens (on view October 30, 2012–January 27, 2013).
View a full documentary featuring this object: http://www.cerimes.fr/le-catalogue/la-joueuse-de-tympanon.html
Footage courtesy of CERIMES.
David Roentgen: Long-Case Clock
The Roentgens' Berlin Secretary Cabinet
(00:02:20) 10632 views
Rolltop Desk by David Roentgen: Demonstration
(00:02:17) 16640 views
Rolltop Desk by David Roentgen: Animation
(00:01:00) 3015 views
Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689–1755)
Louis XVI (1754–1793, r. 1774–93)
Marie Antoinette (1755–1793)
Etienne François de Choiseul, duc de Choiseul (1719–1785)
Browse current and upcoming exhibitions and events.
This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 556
Inscription: J B CARPEAUX (on pedestal)Marking:  SEVRES in oval, incised on pedestal
 H R, incised on pedestal (mark of Henri Robert [1889-1933], mouleur répareur)
 S / 1912 in a triangle incised on pedestal
[ Galerie Spicilège , 1972; sold to MMA ]
© 2000–2013 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.