Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt / Small Desk (bureau brisé) / 17th century (ca. 1685)Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt
Small Desk (bureau brisé)
17th century (ca. 1685)

View Larger Image

View Full Catalog Record Below

This image is one of over 108,000 from the AMICA Library (formerly The Art Museum Image Consortium Library- The AMICO Library™), a growing online collection of high-quality, digital art images from over 20 museums around the world. offers subscriptions to this collection, the finest art image database available on the internet. EVERY image has full curatorial text and can be studied in depth by zooming into the smallest details from within the Image Workspace.
Preview the AMICA Library™ Public Collection in Luna Browser Now

  • Cultures and time periods represented range from contemporary art, to ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian works.
  • Types of works include paintings, drawings, watercolors, sculptures, costumes, jewelry, furniture, prints, photographs, textiles, decorative art, books and manuscripts.

Gain access to this incredible resource through either a monthly or a yearly subscription and search the entire collection from your desktop, compare multiple images side by side and zoom into the minute details of the images. Visit for more information on the collection, click on the link below the revolving thumbnail to the right, or email us at .

Creator Name: Oppenordt, Alexandre-Jean
Creator Role: Maker
Creator Dates/Places: 1639-1715
Creator Name-CRT: Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt
Creator Name: Bérain, Jean
Creator Role: Designer
Creator Dates/Places: 1640-1711
Creator Name-CRT: Brass inlay designed and possibly engraved by Jean Bérain
Title: Small Desk (bureau brisé)
Title Type: Object name
View: Alternate View
Creation Start Date: 1683
Creation End Date: 1687
Creation Date: 17th century (ca. 1685)
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Woodwork-Furniture
Materials and Techniques: Oak, pine and walnut veneered with tortoiseshell; engraved brass, ebony and rosewood; bronze-gilt and steel
Dimensions: H. 30 5/16 in. (77 cm), W. 41 3/4 in. (106 cm), D. 23 3/8 in. (59.4 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1986.365.3
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1986

This compact desk was made for Louis XIV by the relatively unknown Dutch cabinetmaker Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt (1639-1715). It was one of a pair made for the king's study, a small room in the north wing of Versailles.

The closed top displays a blazon of Louis XIV's personal devices, including a crown above a monogram of interlaced L's. The crown is surmounted by a sunburst engraved with a now-indistinct outline of Apollo's mask. The sides of the top are inlaid with Apollo's lyres and the corners, with fleurs-de-lis.

The Museum's desk belongs to a type of furniture called 'bureaux brisés' (literally, 'broken desks'). The top, shown closed, is hinged to open, or 'break,' along its width to reveal a fitted interior, veneered with Brazilian rosewood, that consists of a cramped writing surface with four drawers at the back. The 'bureau brisé' originated in 1669 and continued to be made until the early eighteenth century, when a large flat-topped writing table, the 'bureau plat,' replaced it.

AMICA ID: MMA_.1986.365.3
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

AMICA PUBLIC RIGHTS: a) Access to the materials is granted for personal and non-commercial use. b) A full educational license for non-commercial use is available from Cartography Associates at c) Licensed users may continue their examination of additional materials provided by Cartography Associates, and d) commercial rights are available from the rights holder.

Home | Subscribe | Preview | Benefits | About | Help | Contact
Copyright © 2007 Cartography Associates.
All rights reserved.