diorama (n.)

1823, a spectacular painting intended to be exhibited in a darkened room to produce an appearance of reality using lighting from behind it, from French diorama (1822), from assimilated form of Greek dia "through" (see dia-) + orama "that which is seen, a sight" (see panorama, on which this word is based). It was invented in France by Daguerre (later the pioneer photographer) and Bauton and first exhibited in England in 1823.

Meaning "small-scale replica of a scene, etc., using three-dimensional objects and a painted background" is from 1902. Related: Dioramic.

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