LOO, Charles-Amédée-Philippe van
(b. 1719, Rivoli, d. 1795, Paris)

The Camera Obscura

Oil on canvas, 89 x 89 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington

The two paintings, The Camera Obscura and Soap Bubbles, were painted for the Prussian imperial family in Berlin. In both paintings, three children appear in a trompe-l'oeil oval window in a painted stone wall. Each figure appears at a different height, but the three are tightly clustered to form a pyramidal composition. With rapt attention that connects them psychologically, the children observe their toys or games.

Amédée drew upon a variety of sources for his paintings of Children's pastimes. From the seventeenth-century Dutch genre painters like Caspar Netscher and Gerrit Dou, popular with eighteenth-century French collectors and engravers, he took both the subject of a boy blowing bubbles and the structure of the fictive window through which we see him.