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Lights of Other Days

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




John F. Peto
American, 1854–1907

About this artwork

Lights of Other Days, like many of John F. Peto’s still lifes, is replete with nostalgia. Strewn along a shallow shelf above a doorframe is an array of old, well-worn objects: candleholders with wax candles nearly used up, rusty oil lamps, and torn books. These discarded commonplace objects allude to older ways of life and fading memories. Peto specialized in trompe l’oeil (fools the eye) pictures; yet his soft-edged style is suggestive of the artist’s hand rather than the heightened illusionism employed by other trompe l’oeil painters such as William Harnett. Trained in Philadelphia, Peto stopped exhibiting his work at professional venues by 1890, creating compositions instead for local patrons near his New Jersey home.


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Arts of the Americas


John Frederick Peto


Lights of Other Days


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1906


Oil on canvas


Signed, on verso: "John F. Peto"


77.5 × 4514 cm (30 1/2 × 45 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Goodman Fund

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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