Optical View of Palmira - Late 18th Century - Winckelmann Gallery

Optical View of Palmira - Late 18th Century

This original etching is an optical view of the entrance to the Temple of the Sun (Sanctuary of Bel) in Palmyra. The complete name of this print is “Of the Great Temple in Palmira in front of the Nord. L’Entrée du Grand Temple de Palmire du côté du Nord”. This type of etching, popular at the time, was developed to give the impression of depth when viewed through a zograscope, an optical device consisting of a magnifying lens and sometimes an angled mirror. The texts were at times inverted and the scenes and perspectives were attractive and exotic: cities near and far, palaces, gardens, architecture and monuments. Similar to postcards today, these scenes allowed viewers to be armchair travellers. Often some elements of the image are painted with bright colours, particularly the people. The theme of this etching, the ruins of the monumental arch in the eastern section of Palmyra’s colonnade, were unfortunately recently destroyed (summer 2015) by jihadists.


Artist / Publisher: Inscription below image: “A Paris chez Basset…”
Medium: Copper etching on laid paper. Original hand-painted watercolour.
Condition: Very good condition.
Dimensions: 28 x 38 cm. / 11 x 15 in.
Frame: Sold without frame.
Provenance: Spain.


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