Quantcast
Demonstration of David Roentgen's Automaton of Queen Marie Antoinette, The Dulcimer 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.

Collections, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts (73)

Media thumbnail

Beauty and Belief
(00:01:54) 641 views

Media thumbnail

Silent Dynamism
(00:01:21) 462 views

Media thumbnail

A Family Gripped by Crisis
(00:01:56) 710 views

Media thumbnail

The Body as High Drama
(00:02:01) 273 views

Media thumbnail

Hands: Silent Yet Speaking
(00:01:25) 211 views

Media thumbnail

Focused in Full Sight
(00:01:35) 186 views

Media thumbnail

After Victory
(00:02:07) 802 views

Media thumbnail

The Myth behind the Bust
(00:01:37) 179 views

Media thumbnail

Agony's Body Language
(00:02:02) 570 views

Media thumbnail

One Artist, Many Faces
(00:01:52) 213 views

Media thumbnail

A Face Refuses Contact
(00:01:21) 332 views

Media thumbnail

Collective Anxiety
(00:01:41) 804 views

Media thumbnail

Art or Fiction?
(00:01:55) 481 views

Media thumbnail

Beauty and Laughter Entwined
(00:01:53) 526 views

Media thumbnail

To Bite or Not To Bite?
(00:01:34) 966 views

Media thumbnail

The Roentgens' Rolltop Desk
(00:01:26) 3309 views

Media thumbnail

Abraham Roentgen's Writing Desk
(00:02:07) 8811 views

Media thumbnail

Thinking Outside the Box
(02:22:26) 305 views

Media thumbnail

The Electrotyping Process
(00:03:05) 4047 views