Weekly Auctions of Exceptional Items
0 selections
Log In
0 selections
lots of lots
Lot 0628
Moisse Molteni Fantascope Skeleton Illusion, c. 1820
Rare animated figure for opaque phantasmagoria projection, with carved bone head, painted wood ribcage, fabric cowl, articulated jaw and metal arm operated by concealed wires on ebonized t-frame, the figure concealed behind polychrome-painted metal sarcophagus with hinged lid, height of the figure 2 ½ in. (6 cm), sarcophagus height 4 ½ x width 7 ¼ in. (11,5 x 18,5 cm). - Accompanied by book: A. Molteni, "Instructions Pratiques sur l'Emploi des Appareils de Projection" (4th edition). - Provenance: Discovered by Thomas Weynants in the the attic of the Château de Moisse, central France, in 1991. - Literature: The Moisse Fantascope, skeleton and slides have been extensively exhibited, performed and documented in works by Stephen Herbert, David Robinson, Laurent Mannoni and other historians of early film and cinema. Please contact Auction Team Breker for a comprehensive bibliography. - The Moisse Molteni Skeleton is one of four 3D illusions (a bust of Voltaire, a winged death's head and a grim reaper) illustrated the "Instructions Pratiques" by Alfred Molteni, a maker of optical, physical, mathematical and maritime instruments. - Illustrations from the "Physike Cabinet" of Adam Wilhelm Hauch (1755-1838) in Copenhagen demonstrate the projection of inverted opaque objects mounted on or screwed to a black screen. Hauch describes a large, wheeled magic lantern with two convex lenses and a powerful light source. - Hauch notes the unique properties of this projection method for three-dimensional objects: "… the representations are not limited to one plane because the different parts of the object are positioned at different distances from the focal point of the lenses". This arrangement also allowed for smoke effects produced by incense sprinkled on glowing coals and, more importantly, for moving projections. "Because the objects inside the instrument are not limited to flat space … it is much easier to design them with mechanisms to enable them to change during viewing." - Figure 6 in Hauch's illustrations depicts a coffin with moveable lid. "When the wire is slowly released, the lid is opened by a skeleton using one hand, secured with the lid, and the figure will rise at the same time from the tomb." - The Fantascope was perfected and patented by the Belgian showman Etienne-Gaspard Robert in 1799, at a time when the mastery of optics was associated in the public imagination with the devil, whose medium is illusion and confusion rather than creation. The first recorded use of the term "l'art trompeur" (the deceptive art) to describe optical effects occurs in a description of a magic lantern show in Nuremberg by French traveler Charles Patin in 1674. - Sensations of mystery, spirits and terror were also the ingredients of Gothic fiction such as Anne Radcliffe's "The Mysteries of Udolpho" (1794) and Matthew Lewis' "The Monk" (1796). According to an anonymous author in a 1797 edition of the "Spirit of the Public Journals", the recipe is a simple one: "Take - An old castle, half of it ruinous A long gallery, with a great many doors, some secret ones. Three murdered bodies, quite fresh, As many skeletons, in chests and presses … Mix them together, in the form of three volumes, To be taken at any of the watering places before going to bed". The experience of such supernatural phenomena firsthand through the medium of the magic lantern created a set of cultural references and an appetite for reading about them in books. Just as the 18th century improvement in optics colored Gothic fiction, so in turn tales of suspense and the supernatural opened the cellar door to the specters that haunt popular culture to this day. Thanks to lenses and to Gothic novels, we have the classic horror film and unforgettable anti-heroes such as Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. - Not only is the Moisse Molteni skeleton an intriguing mechanical illusion, a visual artefact and a cultural reference object of its time, it is also an important link between moving projected images and the dawn of cinema.

Moisse Molteni Fantascope Skelett Illusion, um 1820
Für opake (nichttransparente) Phantasmagorie-Projek tion. Seltene animierte Figur. Geschnitzter Kopf aus Knochen, Brustkorb aus bemaltem Holz, Stoffkutte, beweglicher Kiefer und Metallarme, welche durch versteckte Drähte bewegt werden. Auf ebonisiertem Rahmen. Die Figur ist hinter einem farbig bemalten Sarg mit sich öffnendem Deckel verborgen, das Skelett öffnet den Deckel und erscheint zum Grauen der Zuschauer. Höhe der Figur 6 cm, Sarg Maße 11,5 x 18,5 cm. - Mit Buch: A. Molteni, "Instructions Pratiques sur l'Emploi des Appareils de Projection", Paris 1898, 4. Auflage. Seltenes französisches Buch über frühe Projektionsapparate. - Herkunft: Entdeckt von Thomas Weynants auf dem Dachboden des Château de Moisse. - Literatur: Die Moisse Molteni Fantascope, Skelette und Dias wurden in Werken von Stephen Herbert, David Robinson, Laurent Mannoni und anderen Historikern des frühen Films und Kinos ausgiebig dargestellt und dokumentiert. Bitte kontaktieren Sie das Auction Team Breker für eine umfassende Bibliographie.

Start Price: EUR 18000

Watch and Listen on:



Buyer's Premium

  • 26.8%

Moisse Molteni Fantascope Skeleton Illusion, c. 1820

Estimate €30,000 - €50,000Sep 29, 2018