Astronomical clock

Caspar Fredenberck

Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest
Budapest, Hungary

The look of clocks gained increasing importance in the 16th century. A typical type of the table clocks made with artistic quality was the Renaissance type tower-shape. These were the first works that featured the masters’ signatures as well. Besides biblical scenes usually from the Old Testament astronomical figures and the allegoric figures of months and years also appeared on the clock cases. The gods of Greek and Roman mythology frequently appeared together with the personated figures of Christian virtues. In the famous German goldsmith centres – Nuremberg and Augsburg – the decorative clockworks were commissioned by aristocrats. Their programs were made by scientists.
The spindle escapement of this clock was turned into a pendulum escapement, with an astrolabe and dials for the minutes, hours, days and months. A horizontal sundial was built in its bottom plate with a gnomon. The long square-shaped clock body is decorated with open-work frieze, with griffins and floral ornaments on its four corners it is crowned by a baldachin decorated with four winged horse heads on top there is a two-headed eagle. On its body there is a coat of arms and a crown. The clock body features hermai and lion heads leaning to pilasters on its four corners above them Corinthian columns are growing out of acanthus leaves. On one side there is the freely hanging pendulum and on the other side the dial with the hands, and the year 1577 is indicated. Under the baldachin there are two bells. It is likely that the clock was made for Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor (reign: 1576–1612).


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