[Stereographic View of Two Nude Women]

Artist: Unknown (French)

Date: 1840s

Medium: Daguerreotype

Dimensions: 5.6 x 6.5 cm (2 3/16 x 2 9/16 in.) each

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Gift of John C. Waddell, 1998

Accession Number: 1998.90


The combination of the daguerreotype (with its perfect rendering of detail) and the stereoscope (with its illusion of three dimensions and indeterminate scale) proved irresistible to the makers and consumers of erotic art. Stereoscopic daguerreotypes were often embellished with subtle handcoloring to suggest natural skin tones and with touches of color and gold on the pearl necklaces, jeweled pendants, and glittering diadems that were the models' frequent accoutrements. The viewer's sense of voyeurism is further enhanced by the way one looks at stereographs: privately, as if spying through the boudoir keyhole.