Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Astronomical table clock

Movement probably by Jeremias Metzger (German, ca. 1525–ca. 1597)
Signed by Caspar Behaim (Chasparus Bohemus) (Austrian, active 1568–84)
German, Augsburg
Case and dials: gilded brass; Movement: iron-posted frame
Overall: 14 1/4 × 8 1/2 × 5 3/4 in. (36.2 × 21.6 × 14.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
Not on view
This gilded-brass case is covered in a complex arrangement of decoration and dials with functions for displaying the time, as well as calendrical and astronomical information. Designed as an opulent demonstration of its owner’s wealth and scientific knowledge, this clock is called a Metzger type after the Augsburg clockmaker Jeremias Metzger, who made other, similar pieces. Princely themes of hunting and the allegorical figures that weave around the dials reflect the well-rounded education of the Renaissance owner.
Signature: Engraved on left side of case: MEFECIT · CHAS / PARVS · BOHEMVS / INVIÆNNA · AVS / TRIA ANNO / 1568

Marking: Each struck twice on movement:
[1] crescent moon and the initial B inside a trefoil motif.
[2] crescent moon and star over star and crescent moon, inside shield-shaped motif.

Movement: signed with maker’s mark: (punched, in cameo) CB and moon and stars within a shielf
Charles Stein (before 1878–1886; Stein Collection sale, Galerie Georges Petit, May 10–14, 1886, no. 215); Frédéric Spitzer (before 1893–ca. 1906) ; J. Pierpont Morgan (until 1917; to MMA)
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