Etching and engraving, hand colored
Image and Sheet: 31.9 x 42.4 cm (12 9/16 x 16 11/16 in.)
Nancy F. and Joseph P. Keithley Collection Gift 2020.162
The text at the top of this print is printed in reverse so that it would be legible when looking through a special viewing device consisting of a convex lens and a mirror.
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 French Palace of Versailles. 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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