Matthias Buchinger: "The Greatest German Living"
By Ricky Jay, Whose Peregrinations in Search of the "Little Man of Nuremberg" are herein Revealed
Matthias Buchinger (1674-1739) performed on more than a half-dozen musical instruments, some of his own invention. He exhibited trick shots with pistols, swords and bowling. He danced the hornpipe and deceived audiences with his skill in magic. He was a remarkable calligrapher specializing in micrography—precise handsome letters almost impossible to view with the naked eye—and he drew portraits, coats of arms, landscapes and family trees, many commissioned by royalty. Amazingly, Matthias Buchinger was just twenty-nine inches tall, and born without legs or arms. He lived to the ripe old age of sixty-five, survived three wives, wed a fourth, and fathered fourteen children.
This book originally accompanied the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition “Wordplay: Matthias Buchinger’s Inventive Drawings from the Collection of Ricky Jay,” and is a fine example of sleight-of-hand master Ricky Jay’s scholarship and storytelling. Alongside an unprecedented and sumptuously reproduced selection of Buchinger’s marvelous drawings and etchings, Jay delves into the history and mythology of the “Little Man,” while also chronicling his encounters with the many fascinating characters he meets in his passionate search for Buchinger.
Siglio Press, 2016, hardcover, 150 pages.
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