Quantcast
David Roentgen's Automaton of Queen Marie Antoinette, The Dulcimer Player (La Joueuse de Tympanon)

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.

Collections, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts (67)

Media thumbnail

Beauty and Belief
(00:01:54) 337 views

Media thumbnail

Silent Dynamism
(00:01:21) 236 views

Media thumbnail

A Family Gripped by Crisis
(00:01:56) 367 views

Media thumbnail

The Body as High Drama
(00:02:01) 144 views

Media thumbnail

Hands: Silent Yet Speaking
(00:01:25) 105 views

Media thumbnail

Focused in Full Sight
(00:01:35) 95 views

Media thumbnail

After Victory
(00:02:07) 239 views

Media thumbnail

The Myth behind the Bust
(00:01:37) 112 views

Media thumbnail

Agony's Body Language
(00:02:02) 206 views

Media thumbnail

One Artist, Many Faces
(00:01:52) 121 views

Media thumbnail

A Face Refuses Contact
(00:01:21) 176 views

Media thumbnail

Collective Anxiety
(00:01:41) 285 views

Media thumbnail

Art or Fiction?
(00:01:55) 252 views

Media thumbnail

Beauty and Laughter Entwined
(00:01:53) 255 views

Media thumbnail

To Bite or Not To Bite?
(00:01:34) 485 views

Media thumbnail

The Roentgens' Rolltop Desk
(00:01:26) 3263 views

Media thumbnail

Abraham Roentgen's Writing Desk
(00:02:07) 8642 views

Media thumbnail

Thinking Outside the Box
(02:22:26) 300 views

Media thumbnail

The Electrotyping Process
(00:03:05) 3980 views