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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―handsome, precise 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, Buchinger was just 29 inches tall, and born without legs or arms. He lived to the ripe old age of 65, survived three wives, wed a fourth and fathered 14 children. Accompanying the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition Wordplay: Matthias Buchinger’s Inventive Drawings from the Collection of Ricky Jay, the book is a cabinet containing a single, multifaceted wonder, refracted through author 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 whom he meets in his passionate search for Buchinger.
Ricky Jay is considered one of the world’s great sleight-of-hand artists. His career is further distinguished by his accomplishments as author, actor and historian of "unusual entertainments." He has appeared in films directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Gus Van Sant and David Mamet. His Jay’s Journal of Anomalies and Learned Pigs & Fireproof Women were New York Times "Notable Books." The subject of the documentary Ricky Jay: Deceptive Practices, Jay is the only conjurer to be profiled in the PBS series American Masters.
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A wryly agile, affectionate, and deeply tantalizing inquiry into the obscure legacy of an almost unimaginable subject... Amply and handsomely illustrated. (Howard Hampton Bookforum)
In the way it exhumes a pre-Enlightenment eccentric, Jay’s The Greatest Living German provides a much-needed introduction to a valuable, lost wunderkammer. But Jay’s work is also a polymathic replica of the zeitgeist of languages and wonders in which Buchinger lived and worked. (Erik Morse The Paris Review Daily)
[An] impeccably designed book... Truly awe-inspiring. (Jim Ruland Los Angeles Times)
An appealing short book on Buchinger, with excellent illustrations. (Christopher Benfey The New York Review of Books)
It’s a delicious read, spiced by anecdotal encounters with the author’s fellow-obsessives in a field as deep as it is narrow. I had never heard of Buchinger before the book arrived in the mail. The improbable matter and elegant manner of the writing put me in mind of Borges. (Peter Schjeldahl The New Yorker)
Matthias Buchinger must have been some kind of genius. (Ken Johnson The New York Times)
The magician Ricky Jay, considered by many the greatest sleight-of-hand artist alive, is also a scholar, a historian, a collector of curiosities. Master of a prose style that qualifies him as perhaps the last of the great 19th-century authors... his most enduring interest is a fellow polymath, an 18th-century German named Matthias Buchinger. (Charles McGrath The New York Times)
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Book Description Siglio, 2016. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1938221125
Book Description Siglio, 2016. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P111938221125