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) 16720 views
Rolltop Desk by David Roentgen: Animation
(00:01:00) 3016 views
Beaker and saucer
Browse current and upcoming exhibitions and events.
This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 508
The third factory in Europe to produce hard-paste porcelain was founded in Venice in 1720 by Francesco Vezzi (1651–1740); it remained in operation for only seven years. The imperfections of the teapot's glaze reflect the experimental nature of porcelain at this time.
Marking:  Ven:a (in underglaze blue)
 Af (incised)
[ W. Agnew and Company, Ltd., London, England (until 1999; sold to MMA) ]
© 2000–2013 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.