Monday, May 19, 2008

Le Petit Palais, Paris and a Boite à Musique (1753) by Jean Moisy

Le Petit Palais, Paris - now housing La Musée des Beaux-Rrts de la Ville de Paris

Built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900, the Petit Palais, Paris reopened in 2005 after three years restoration to house La Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris.

My dear friend Ulysse just emailed me from Paris and very sweetly alerted me to something he recently saw there - an astounding mid-C18 Rococo music box by the clockmaker ('horloger') Jean Moisy. Luckily, this alert was accompanied by a set of his great photographs.

The Rococo style somewhat resembles the Baroque but the moving and flowing backward-turning (arabesque) curves are now characterized by an asymmetry.

But what is extraordinary about this object is how such flowing and integrated asymmetry is realized between the myriad of flowers and fun-loving, playful and naughty monkeys. Giving the whole such light frothy exuberance! And all in such perfect and beautiful balance.

Realized right down in the smallest detail.

Ulysse tells me the decorative supporting structure is of gilded bronze, with the figures of Meissen porcelain by Johann-Joachim Kändler and Peter Reinicke. And the flowers of 'pâtetendre' (or tender pastry) from Vincennes (near Paris).

He also tells me the music box was owned by Madame de Pompadour (1721-64), and may even have been commissioned by her.

It still plays music, with this function being ingeniously signaled in its construction as an pipe organ.

And, as Ulysee says with ingenious double meaning, this little work of art is something to 'stimulate the organ between your ears' - which it certainly does! Thank you for that my friend ... and for your photographs which make the stimulation possible!

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