Friday, June 01, 2012

Leonardo's 'Last Supper' painting brought to life as an automaton going to auction

Shown here is a rare automaton by the famous maker Phalibois representing Davinci's painting The Last Supper. It is a large scene-style automaton measuring about four feet in length. It may be the only one of its kind in the world. This is the second extraordinary piece in the Skinner auction that takes place tomorrow, June 2nd, 2012.

From the Skinner auction catalog:

The Lord’s Supper Automaton, attributed to Henry Phalibois, c.1890, the automaton based on Da Vinci’s The Lord’s Supper, features Jesus and the twelve Apostles in period clothing moving as if in serious conversation at a long table set with pewter dishes and goblets, complex gearing and drives all powered by two 110 and 220 volt 60-cycle motors, lg. 69, ht. 30, dp. 22 in.

Here is DaVinci's famous painting of the scene:

Photo of Last Supper automaton

Here is Phalibois' three dimensional interpretation of the painting:

Photo of Last Supper automaton

This automaton was featured in a traveling exhibition that toured Europe, Australia and New Zealand in the early 1920s, under the name of The London Mechanical and Electrical exhibition. Details of this exhibition are featured in Rod Cornelius, Mechanical Music, July/August 2011, pp. 32-35.

Here are the auction details
Date: June 2, 2012, 10am
Preview Times:
   June 1, 2012, 12pm - 7pm
   June 2, 2012, 8am - 9:30am
Location: 274 Cedar Hill Street, Marlborough, MA

Here is the Skinner online catalog listing for The Lord's Supper Automaton, attributed to Henry Phalibois.

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