Saturday, July 09, 2016

The Rolls-Royce of Renaissance Clocks

Isaac Habrecht's carillon clock of 1589, designed in imitation of the great clock in Strasbourg Cathedral, was made as a performance piece and is one of the most important surviving examples of Renaissance clockwork. The figure of Death strikes the hour, and the carillon plays a musical setting of the Lord's Prayer written by Martin Luther in 1539. An astronomical dial shows the positions of the sun and moon in the zodiac. A revolving carousel shows the days of the week, each represented by its ruling planet personified and riding in a chariot. The clock’s metal case is engraved on three sides. One side features the figures of Faith, Hope and Charity (the three key Christian virtues mentioned in the First Epistle to the Corinthians). The other side shows Wisdom, Fortitude and Justice, while the back of the clock shows the Three Fates of Greek myth, who controlled the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal from birth to death.

The clock is on display in the Museum in Room 37 at The British Museum.

Thanks Mr. Nag!

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