FRIESS, Joachim
(b. ca 1579, Lübeck, d. 1620, Augsburg)

Diana and Stag Automaton

1610s
Silver, partially gilded, 33 x 24 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Elaborate silver automata were among the most marvelous works of art in German princely collections. The south German city of Augsburg specialized in such courtly drinking amusements during the seventeenth century. The base of this automaton contained a wind-up mechanism that moved it across the table. Once it came to a standstill, the diner closest to it removed the stag's head and drank the wine from the body.

The present automaton was made of cast and chased silver, partially gilded and painted with translucent lacquers. There are other versions in various collections.