Made by Nicholas-Noël Boutet, Directeur-Artiste of the Versailles Arms Manufactory / Flintlock Rifle / ca. 1800Made by Nicholas-Noël Boutet, Directeur-Artiste of the Versailles Arms Manufactory
Flintlock Rifle
ca. 1800

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Creator Name: Boutet, Nicholas-Noël
Creator Nationality: European; French
Creator Role: Maker
Creator Name-CRT: Made by Nicholas-Noël Boutet, Directeur-Artiste of the Versailles Arms Manufactory
Title: Flintlock Rifle
Title Type: Object name
View: Detail
Creation Start Date: 1780
Creation End Date: 1820
Creation Date: ca. 1800
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Arms
Materials and Techniques: Steel, walnut, silver, gold
Dimensions: L. 43 1/2 in. (110.5 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1970.179.1
Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1970

The Revolution of 1789 and the subsequent rise of Napoleon, first as consul (1799-1804) and then as emperor (1804-14), brought about a dramatic change in the design and decoration of French firearms. The principal innovator was Nicholas-Noël Boutet (1761-1833), who was named 'directeur-artiste' of the newly formed Versailles Arms Manufactory in 1792. While the Versailles factory was the principal producer of regulation weapons for the French armies, Boutet was also charged with creating richly decorated arms for presentation to military heroes and foreign heads of state.

Firearms of this period, like the rifle illustrated, show an unequaled technical perfection and precision of workmanship. The delicate Rococo style associated with the ancien régime was abandoned and replaced by the more masculine classicism of the Empire style with its references to Greco-Roman and Egyptian motifs. Gunstocks were inlaid with engraved sheet silver and gold, and the mounts were often of heavy silver cast in bold relief. The decoration included trophies of arms and scenes of classical battles and victories that implied France's military glory.

AMICA ID: MMA_.1970.179.1
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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