Absolutely Black: Silhouettes and Shadow Theatres

In collaboration with the Comune di Padova
with contribution and sponsorship from the Region of Venice
with sponsorship by the Minister of Welfare and Cultural Activities

Silhouettes seat by J.K. Lavater, reproduction


The Minici Zotti Collection of Padua, constantly researching the Archaeology of Cinema, has collected a vast repertoire of silhouettes. In the 18th and 19th Centuries silhouettes were the cheapest way to create portraits, although by 1830 they had been replaced by photographic images.
The Museum has organised an exhibition to display the collection, entitled ABSOLUTELY BLACK: Silhouettes and Shadow Theatres. Beginning with the black figures of an Amphoriskos (indeed it is believed that silhouettes originate from the ancient Greek tradition of decorating pottery with black figures), the exhibition continues through to the 18th and 19th centuries. There will be displayed different forms of the art of the silhouette: cut from paper, painted on card or glass, embroidered, printed, decorated onto vases and jewellery… and also depicted on original postcards of the age.