Mozart &
Material Culture



Anon, Carte Hélio-Séléno-Géographique d'Europe, dans laquelle on voit la projection que l'ombre de la lune tracera sur la surface de cette partie de notre globe. 1r avril 1764 (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France)

During their stay in Paris in 1763-1764, Leopold Mozart witnessed a near total solar eclipse on 1 April 1764. That same day he wrote to Johann Lorenz Hagenauer:

  1. Fools everywhere are lacking in sense. . . if they see an eclipse, then this may result in a general commotion in Paris. For the past 2 weeks the glaziers in Paris have been collecting all the old fragments of glass that they can find and painting them blue or, rather, black, and then piecing them together in the shape of an octavo sheet of paper or in whatever shape the shards of glass produced, framing the edges with gold paper and offering them for sale at their shops or hawking them around in the street. . .  The glaziers didn’t make their pieces of glass for nothing; but the buyers spent their money for nothing. It rained heavily, but in spite of this it was no darker than it is, say, when it starts to get dark in the evening.