Dec 9, 2009

The Optical Viewer

The Optical Viewer

c. 1794

Frédéric 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: 

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email [email protected].

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.