The museum stories cycle: “Miracle Lamps" (video)

We continue the cycle “Museum Stories” and invite you to be acquainted with the next video clip about table lighting items called “miracles”. 

Light plays a very important role in art - different levels of illumination can radically change the appearance of the same item or space. There are many examples when lighting effects serve as a key means of expressiveness of a creative work.

In Russia in the 19th century, a table lighting items called “miracle” gained particular popularity. The lamp was comprised of a base with a stand for candles and an adjustable translucent screen. The oscillating flame of the candle illuminated the screen, and the image “came to life” on it. A miracle was realized in full view of everyone, in French - “miracle”.

On the cover: An old miracle lamp from the museum Collection exposition is on the cover.
The lamp was made in Russian Empire in the 1800s. The lamp is equipped with rectangular screen made of biscuit, in other words, unglazed porcelain. The screen shows St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna in low relief.

Miracles were often used as desk lamps. The museum Collection exposition features Writing set with the figures of dancing peasants, with lamp-miracle  created in the 1830s. This item is a rare example of “combination” of a writing set, a miracle lamp and a sculptural composition.

Miracles, unlike most illuminating devices were not made for a specific interior. The small size of the item, combined with the whimsical light play, ensured the demand for a miracle lamp throughout the 19th century. Mobility, valued in the Romanticism era, subdued light, important for the burgher comfort of Biedermeier and decorative motifs of the bygone styles, reproduced within the framework of the Historicism style, for a long time guaranteed a relevant place for miracles in the interiors of living rooms, bedrooms and offices.