It’s all of the above!
It’s actually an automaton, a rare mechanical re-enactment of Leonardo DaVinci’s “The Last Supper.” The machine is created from wood and metal, fabric and paint, gears and drives—and, according to the Skinner Auction House of Massachusetts, it’s powered by two 110 and 220 volt, 60-cycle motors. The automaton measures 69 inches long, 30 inches high, and 22 inches deep.
The working automaton—a large-scale scene of Jesus and the apostles, with several movements per figure—was created by French artist Henry Phalibois circa 1890, and may be the only one of its type in the world. It was part of the traveling London Mechanical and Electrical Exhibition which toured England, Europe, Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. It was acquired by David Jobling Vaughton and his grandson, then sold to the late Pat Newman of Auckland, who took great pride in his collection and often showed it to friends and visitors.
Now, though, the “Last Supper” automaton could be yours—complete with Jesus teaching, the apostles listening and talking among themselves, even a little Judas scheming. That’s because on June 2, Skinner Auction House will auction off this one-of-a-kind machine. The automaton is expected to bring $10,000 to $15,000 at Saturday’s sale.
Photos are from The Blaze. The nine-minute YouTube video below was filmed in 2011, and shows the automaton’s full range of motion.
UPDATE: Gosh, the predictions were accurate! The toy was expected to bring $10,000 to $15,000; and it sold on Saturday for $12,000. (If you bought it as an early Christmas gift for me, thank you so much!)