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The inventive talents of David Roentgen are evident in this exceptionally refined desk. The monogram "DR" inlaid beneath the keyhole on the lower drawer indicates the cabinetmaker's satisfaction with one of his most mechanically ingenuous creations: a single key inserted at different depths unlocks the center drawer, releases the rolltop, or releases the hidden side drawers; if a button is pressed on the underside of these drawers, each swings aside to reveal three other drawers. Above the rolltop, the rectangular structure consists of a single wide drawer. The artist's creativity is evident in the chinoiserie marquetry scenes, created by using minute pieces of naturally colored exotic woods that have a painterly effect.
See Collections to learn more about this desk.
This desk is featured in the exhibition Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens (on view October 30, 2012–January 27, 2013).
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Alexander I of Russia
Virgin and Child
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This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 555
Commissioned by Count Anatoly Nicolaevich Demidoff.The subject is a complex, cosmological allegory best described in the sculptor's own words: "Stretched out upon the plan of the world is Cupid, god of generation, sustaining and watching over the symbolic genius of dissolute wealth without virtue, who snores in his sleep . . . dreaming of past diversions in pleasure. Left to himself, the genius of ambitious rectitude in work sleeps the agitated sleep of misfortune and glory. . . his head extending beyond the periphery of the world."The original plaster is in the Gipsoteca Bartoliniana, Florence.
Signature: Signed, and dated (on side of quiver): Bartolini fece 1845 Firenze [executed by Bartolini 1845 Florence]Inscription: On side of quiver: Di commissione del principe / Anatolio Demidoff [Ordered by the prince/Anatole Demidoff]
Commissioned by Prince Anatole Demidov , Villa San Donato, near Florence (1845–d. 1870; his sale, March 4, 1870, no. 228; to Loubat for Fr. 3,400); Joseph H. de Loubat , Paris, (1870–1903; his gift to MMA)
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