Girl with a Magic Lantern

French18th century

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich Picture Gallery

"Until 1880 this tiny painting was attributed to Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin; it is probably the work of an 18th-century French painter inspired by this master of genre scenes and still lifes.
The magic lantern or 'Laterna Magica' is an early type of image projector invented in the late 16th century, where translucent painted slides were lit up and magnified by a concave mirror reflecting the light of a candle or lamp. This popular form of entertainment was often featured in travelling fairs and used to create supernatural illusions such as images of the devil, phantoms, or ghosts. It is effectively one of the direct ancestors of cinematographic projectors and animation techniques (and, as such, a proof that horror and fantasy are the oldest genres in the history of cinema)."

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  • Title: Girl with a Magic Lantern
  • Date: 18th century
  • Physical Dimensions: w203 x h243 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Notes: Until 1880 attributed to Chardin.
  • Work Nationality: French
  • Support: Canvas on panel
  • School: French
  • Provenance: London, Sir Francis Bourgeois, 1811; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811.
  • Acquisition Method: Bourgeois, Sir Peter Francis (Bequest, 1811)


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