Shadow Theatre in Paris (1886 -1914)

24th september – 27th november 2011

“Prochainement tournée du Chat Noir” is the famous slogan of the poster designed by Théophile Alexandre Steinlen for the shadow puppet theatre, which began in Paris in 1885 at the latter venue of the Cabaret du Chat Noir, founded by the showman Rodolphe Salis and the artist Caran d’Ache. Located at the foot of Montmartre in rue Laval ( now known as rue Victor Massé), Le Chat Noir would come to be considered one of the main meeting places of the Parisian intellectuals and the symbol of La Bohème at the end of the nineteenth century.

La Fondazione Centro Studi della Barbariga, founded by Angelo dalle Molle, has donated to the Collection Minici Zotti an important set of 70 French shadow puppets in zinc, together with their original traveling theatre and two Magic Lanterns used to project backdrops.

The shadow puppets are similar to those shown in the cabarets of Montmartre, and recount the well known tales: La Marche à l’Etoile,Carnaval de Venise, Le Sphinx, L’Age d’Or and others not yet identified. The number of donated items is truly remarkable, and throughout 2009 studies and research were conducted to catalogue and improve understanding of this area of Precinema.


Owing to the importance of the shadow puppets for precinematic history, the Museo del PRECINEMA is planning the exhibition at Piano Nobile of Palazzo Angeli, seat of Museo del PRECINEMA at Prato della Valle, in collaboration with the Department of Culture of the Comune di Padova, Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali, Regione Veneto and Provincia di Padova and sponsored by Regione Veneto, Fondazione CARIPARO, GAL Patavina and GAL Bassapadovana.