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Jan. 7 Art Minute: Pierre-Philippe Barat, Cartel Clock with Minerva and the Gallic Cock

Art Minute, Art of the Week, toledo museum of art

A cartel clock is an elaborate wall clock often executed in fireglit bronze (known as ormolu). The clock case and bracket are joined into a single sculptural unit, designed to complement the Rococo interior design of the room it would decorate. This clock is topped by a triumphant Minerva, Greek goddess of wisdom, the arts, and battle. She is accompanied by the Gallic cock, emblem of France, as a collective symbol of French courage and victory. An assortment of arms, armor, flags, and musical instruments intertwine with C-scrolls and stylized seashell designs in an asymmetrical, flowing Rococo arrangement around the clock face.

The clock is said to have come from the new, larger city hall in Rouen in Normandy that was built in the mid-18th century and designed by the fashionable architect Antoine Mathieu Le Carpentier. A Rouen native working in Paris, he also designed furniture and other interior decorations and may have designed this clock. 

This work is currently on view in Gallery 26 at the Toledo Museum of Art.

Pierre-Philippe Barat, Paris, clock work (French, active 1742-1770; died before 1781) Cartel Clock with Minerva and the Galic Cock. Gilt-bronze (ormolu), enameled dial, about 1742-49. Purchased with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott. 1962.15