Etching and engraving, hand colored and assembled from multiple sheets of paper
Sheet: 30.1 x 45.8 cm (11 7/8 x 18 1/16 in.)
Nancy F. and Joseph P. Keithley Collection Gift 2020.161
Perspective views such as this were viewed with special viewing devices in the 18th century that are considered the precursors to modern moving images.
This perspective view (often called a vue d’optique,or optical view) is an example of a popular art and entertainment format during the second half of the 1700s in Europe. The hand-colored etching and engraving was made to be viewed with a special viewing device consisting of a convex lens and a mirror, so that scene appeared to be a three-dimensional image. Here, the viewer can enjoy a perspective view of the palace of the King of Portugal in Lisbon. Such views—which were only made for a short time and largely disappeared with the advent of photography—appealed to both elite audiences, who viewed collections of images with their own viewing devices in private drawing rooms, and popular audiences, for whom they were street entertainment for a minimal fee.
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