Isaac and Ede Antique Prints
Vue d'Optique Luxembourg Palace

Vue d'Optique

Vue du Palais du Luxembourg du cote du Jardin

16 x 9.5 inches

A copper plate etching with original hand colour; published in Paris circa 1750.

Early optical views such as this one were often crude in their execution and colouring. They were designed as relatively inexpensive souvenirs for travellers and tourists visiting the major cities of Europe. Designed with strong lines of perspective and vivid colours they were intended to be seen through zograscope or early viewfinders where the lens would both enhance and distort the image. They would be used as a form of entertainment after dinner to show your guests where you had been and what you had seen on your travels.

The Luxembourg Palace, depicted so strikingly in this print, was originally built in the early C17th for the mother of King Louis XIII. It survived throughout the C18th and was remodelled after the French Revolution so this image shows the palace in its original form. It is situated in the 6th arrondissement of Paris and surrounded by the Luxembourg Gardens which remain open as pleasure gardens to this day. The print also illustrates two French obsessions that have endured throughout the centuries: high fashion and the elevation of pleaching trees to an art form.


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