final objects from the “Making Marvels” exhibit at the Met

by grace on January 4, 2020

i hope somebody reading this is interested in these objects because I thought they were truly wonderful.

This is the piece on the picture of the exhibit; it’s a Celestial Globe with clockwork from 1579, made by Gerhard Emmoser.

Emmoser, who served three emperors, created this globe for Rudolf II. The emperor displayed the scientific apparatus, which once rotated to chart the constellations, in his Kunstkammer. The stand ring’s naturalistic rock formations may refer to Greek myth, which held that the spring of inspiration flowed wherever the winged Pegasus’s hooves struck. Astronomy rested on knowledge of arithmetic and geometry, fields then considered “the wings of the human mind.” This unprecedented fusion of elegant goldsmith work and extraordinarily complex mechanical technology reflects the hand of a great master.

If you click on this link you can look at other great photos of it, including close-ups of the constellations.

A German Astronomical Table Clock from the second quarter of the 17th Century.

With its various dials illustrating calendrical and astronomical data, this highly complicated clock reflected the outstanding education of its noble owner. A ruler’s possession of precise technology, used to tell the time and trace the constellations, underlined his divine right to govern his subjects. Princely scenes of hunting—within the openwork of the dome—and the allegorical figures that weave around the case are as elegant as the intricate technological marvel within.

We didn’t even look at the stuff for sale re: this collection, but i wish they’d had a replica of this fine piece. i’m sure even a replica wouldn’t have been very affordable. This is a “Centerpiece in the form of a Galley,” from the late 16th Century.

As early as the fourteenth century, small silver ships marked the sovereign’s place at the table during banquets, enclosing the cutlery and napkin to protect them from poisoning. Over the course of the sixteenth century, multifunctional trick vessels such as this one became popular. If a diner tried to drink from the blocked bow spout, the three deck cannons sprayed liquid onto his or her face—to the delight of the assembled company. The only way to successfully drink from the vessel is through a cannon on the stern.

I mean, what a crazy thing, that it’s a trick, but that anybody would even drink from it at all!

This is an “Automaton Clock with Bacchus Figure & Case,” also from the late 16th Century. It’s too bad there’s no video of it.

Prince Paul I Esterházy personally led his guests through his Kunstkammer, operating lavish mechanical marvels like this one for their amazement. Once this curious conveyance is set in motion, the wine god toasts the astonished observers with his cup, rolls his eyes, and sticks out his tongue, while the birds on his head excitedly flap their wings. The maker synchronized the movements of Bacchus and the other figures to a chiming mechanism inside the chariot that marks the quarter hours. A separate drive propels the six-wheeled car forward on its own. The clock, which came to Forchtenstein Castle in the second half of the seventeenth century, still has its original traveling and storage case.

Incredible stuff. It would have been extraordinary to have seen any of these things in their day. It’d probably have been horrible to have lived back then, unless maybe you were a King or a Prince, but truly amazing to have seen such marvels.

In looking up the different objects i’d seen, i saw others that i’d only glanced at or didn’t see at all, including the Order of the Golden Fleece, which you can see for yourself. I’m tempted to buy the catalogue, but would it just sit around my house gathering dust?

Ok then, i promise we’ll leave the museum soon,

mrs. h.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: