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Watch this surprising video of an automaton play the dulcimer.
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).
See the full video: 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
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Rolltop Desk by David Roentgen: Animation
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This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 500
Inscription: (1) below bust of man with book in main scene: originally VEBILIO in black; apparently amended during course of enameling to VERBLIO by addition of red enamel strokes to the B and I of VEBILIO
(2) VENITE (plural command, Latin, Come! or Come here! addressed to the lines of maidens.
Alessandro Castellani (until 1884; sale, at Palais Castellani, Rome, March 17–April 10 , 1884, Deuxième partie, no. 405); E. Joseph (until 1890; sale, Christie, Manson and Wood, London, May 6, 1890, no. 96); J. Pierpont Morgan (until 1917; to MMA)
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