Magic lantern


Musica Magica's Lanterns

Ruth Baumer & Günther Holzhey, museum augenblick, Pfarrgasse 2, D 86720 Nördlingen


Günther Holzhey have been fascinated by magic lanterns slides and their history. And for 24 years they have been members of The Magic Lantern Society. Among their vast collection of historical slides covering many different topics, there are also wonderful rare treasures such as:

- Hand-painted images pre 1900: Egyptian, Holy Land and Palestine, Franklin's lost expedition 1848 etc.

- science education, optical lantern slides, camera obscura, natural science,

A Lady takes her bath

- Bamforth N.Y.C. Life Model Series: The last Chord, The Mighty Deep, Street Tramblers, The Loss of the Titanic etc.

- Nudism, Naturismus, Erotic Slides,

- Police photography, Bertillonage-Slides,

- Masonic magic lantern slides to the Entered Apprentice Degree of Masonry, Blue Lodges, Order of the Eastern Star, Knights of Pythias,

- Magic Lantern Series: Grimm's Fairy Tales.

Silhouete Slide

Based on the collection of the 'museum augenblick', Ruth Baumer M.A. has done extensive research on the history of magic lantern slides. Of particular interest to her is the eminent scholar Athanasius Kircher, of whom she says:
"This object is a paradigm for the shift in the structures of knowledge during the 17th century. A significant intersection is the first published (and therefore most famous) illustration of the projection apparatus in Ars Magna Lucis et Umbræ, a 1671 work on optics by the Jesuit Athanasius Kircher, a polymath and teacher based in Rome. Today the illustration looks odd and technically incorrect: the slide is not upside down, the lens is not located, as is usual, in front of the glass image, but instead between the light source and the image. The proportions of the room, the slide and light source are also curious. The famous illustration of a projection arrangement by Kircher in his publication "Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae" of 1671 should not be allocated to incorrect technical illustration, but instead should be interpreted within the context of pre-modern teachings on the soul and on perception, as well as within the central philosophical discourse of ars memorativa of the era. Here Kircher links to the medieval text and image tradition, which is essentially based upon the visualisation of its thought structures. Against this background, the illustration should be understood as the first technical attempt to direct and restrict the image-forming imagination and the direct influence of the visual memory. The methodological toolkit, the fourfold exegesis-allegorical interpretation, is taken from the Jesuit context. From this perspective, the engraving can be read in the following four ways:
as a projection device on the level of sensus litteralis, as a theatre of memory and reminiscence of the history of salvation of sensus allegoricus, as a perception device of sensus tropologicus and as God's Light of sensus anagogicus."