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Books, Autographs & Prints / Part I

Tuesday 30 March 2021, 03:00 PM • Rome



Vues d'optique [optical views], 1760


€ 20.000 - 22.000

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290 x 435 mm.

Splendid series of 27 vues d'optique and an opening table depicting a theatrical fifth, etched and watercolored, pierced with punches and cut out with the découpage technique, working on the back with black tempera treatment and inserts of colored papers and fabrics, each measuring 290 x 435 mm. approximately, & nbsp; slight defects and restorations, partly carried out in Augsburg [Augsburg], "au Negoce commun de l'Academie Imperiale d'Empire des Arts libéraux". & nbsp;

Various series are identified: < b> 11 biblical scenes with the subject of the Wounds of Egypt (from 1 to 10) and a vue depicting the Prophet Daniel with the Babylonian Dragon Bel; 3 Spanish views of the Palais Royal and the Jardins de Buen Retiro en Espagne , the Prospectus Domus Regiae ... Hispaniae & nbsp; and a view of the Spanish fleet off Gibraltar; 6 views of Italian cities , of which 2 of Florence, one of Venice, one of Rome, a cathedral interior probably from Northern Italy and a large square with a fountain; 2 views of Swedish cities ; three views respectively of Vienna, of New York (the foreshortening of a street with the erection of a statue on a pedestal in the center), and of large gardens (probably of an Austrian city) of a non better identified Schloss; two nocturnal vues depicting a camp of tents with multicolored flags and an illuminated palace.

Specialist Notes

The vues d'optique or optical views are watercolor retouched perspective prints that were viewed through a Zograscope , or optical box, to create the illusion of relief and accentuated perspective. They are mostly scenes of city life, glimpses of the environment, tables with a biblical subject, much appreciated in the eighteenth century: a superb testimony of the Enlightenment and absolute trust in science and technology. Initially called "perspectives" (conventional date of birth around 1730), they took the name of "optical views" around 1740. The first were published in London at the beginning of the 18th century, the fashion then spread throughout Europe between 1740. and 1790 and they continued to produce for most of the nineteenth century.
The main production centers were 4: London, Paris ( rue Saint Jacques), Bassano and Augusta, while secondary centers were Berlin, Vienna and Holland. The fashion for the vues was also exported to China and Japan in the 18th century through the Dutch.
particularly appreciated by the wealthy classes passionate about science, who had a cabinet of curiosities where they can be projected in the dark. They were in fact expensive objects: in London, around 1760, they cost between 18 shillings and 2 pounds, considering that 1 shilling was the price of a day's work for a London worker!
They were also a way to familiarize oneself with the laws of optics and to introduce young people to geography. The image could be viewed with various tools. The most common is the zograscope, consisting of a wooden foot that supports a biconvex lens and a mirror inclined at 45 °. Positioned just below, the print is reflected in the mirror and the viewer observes it through the lens. The mirror creates a distance - hence the effect of depth of field - and the lens a distortion, which emphasizes the perspective. The illustrations could also be viewed in special optical boxes, equipped with an inclined mirror, but the image was hidden inside the device, making the experience more "magical". Hence the epithet of "ancestors" of modern cinema.
«Les vues d'optique s'inscrivent dans la tradition desfameuses vedute ou vues d'Italie que les amateurs, souventanglais, se procuraient lors du Grand Tour; portraits fidèles de sitesnaturels, de villes et de monuments, réalisations d'artistes de renom ou imagesà bon marché, les vedute fixaient le souvenir de lieux enchanteurs etpouvaient éveiller la nostalgie du visiteur rentré chez lui, ou bien fairerêver ceux qui n'avaient pas eu the chance to enter the adventure ", so describes the historian Françoise Pellicer.
A unique and prestigious ensemble, in perfect condition .

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Condition report

To request a Condition Report, please contact The department will provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Please note that what Finarte declares with respect to the state of conservation of the objects corresponds only to a qualified opinion and that we are not professional conservators or restorers. We urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. We always suggest prospective buyers to inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition during the exhibition days as indicated in the catalog.