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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
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Rolltop Desk by David Roentgen: Demonstration
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Rolltop Desk by David Roentgen: Animation
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Man Struggling with a Serpent
Man with a Toothache
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This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 536
Bellano was Donatello's assistant in Florence in 1456. This David, made after Bellano returned to Padua, is a recollection of the famous comtemplative large nude David in bronze by Donatello (now Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence).
Charles Fairfax Murray ; [ Duveen Brothers , New York; sold to Goldman ] ; Henry Goldman (until 1948; sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, February 28, 1948, no . 64; sold to Love); C. Ruxton Love, Jr. (1948–64; to MMA)
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