Dec 8, 2009

The Optical Viewer

The Optical Viewer

c. 1794

Fréderic Cazenave


after Louis Léopold Boilly

(French, 1761-1845)

Etching and engraving

Support: Laid paper

Sheet: 72 x 53.9 cm (28 3/8 x 21 1/4 in.); Platemark: 67.5 x 53.3 cm (26 9/16 x 21 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 2001.15

Catalogue raisonné: Inventaire du Fonds Français 4.156.4 / Por.& Ber. I (part I) p. 346



Based on a portrait painted in 1793,The Optical Viewer depicts Antoine Danton with his stepmother Sébastienne-Louis Gély, recently wed to Revolutionary leader Georges-Jacques Danton. They browse through a stack of large prints using a novelty device that reflects and magnifies the images, possibly as a fun way to enhance their sense of depth perception.

See also
PR - Etching
Type of artwork: 

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