Menu Login Ticket basket   Search

Girl with a Magic Lantern

Carrying her magic lantern on her back, this young girl travels from town to town in order to provide entertainment for the masses. A predecessor of cinema, magic lanterns were an early type of projector invented in the late sixteenth century. Translucent painted sheets of glass placed inside the lantern created fantastic images that could be projected on a large scale for all to see. 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.  

Until 1880, this tiny painting was attributed to the French artist Jean-Siméon Chardin (1699-1779) but is probably the work of an eighteenth-century French painter inspired by Chardin’s scenes of everyday life. 

Currently on display

French School
18th Century
Gallery 11
24.3 x 20.3 cm
Oil on canvas on panel
Bourgeois Bequest, 1811
Accession number