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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.
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Rolltop Desk by David Roentgen: Animation
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Godfroy de Bouillon
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This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 544
Three of the four plaques by Nouailher in this case are from a series depicting the Nine Heroes—a grouping of valiant figures popularized by Jacques de Longuyon’s early fourteenth-century romance Les Voeux du Paon (The Vows of the Peacock). Longuyon’s poem was greatly admired at the courts of France and Burgundy and inspired poets and artists throughogut western Europe.
Inscription: (along the top edge) ALEXAN / DER•MACEDO
Baronne de Nervaux-Loys ; [ sale, Ader Picard Tajan, Paris , June 23, 1976, lot 93 ] ; Private Collection, Lille, France ; [ Alain Moatti (until 1993; sold to MMA) ]
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