Florence Circa 1900: The Photographic View – an online exhibition

View of the Cathedral from the southwest, photo: Giorgio Sommer, circa 1870, albumen print 18.3 x 24.3 cm, inv. no. 10690

View of the Cathedral from the southwest, photo: Giorgio Sommer, circa 1870, albumen print 18.3 x 24.3 cm, inv. no. 10690

The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, founded in 1897, is one of the oldest research institutions dedicated to the History of Art and Architecture in Italy. The institute has an amazing research library including one of the most wide-ranging photographic collections on Italian art. The Photo Library is the “most comprehensive collection possible of photographic images of Italian paintings, sculpture, and architecture.”

In addition to publishing reserach projects, the institute also aranges digital exhibitions of their historic photographic collection accessed from their website of “galleries“. The most recent is Florence Circa 1900: The Photographic View:

Florence circa 1900The medium of photography, like few others, performed an essential role in creating the “Florence myth” in the 19th century. Shifting between experiment, art and souvenir, photography met various requirements and performed several functions. The photographic reproduction of famous buildings and works of art was not limited to acting as a souvenir for travellers or being of service to art aficionados, who bought photographs as the raw material upon which to base their studies. Florence’s flourishing antiques business also benefited from the photographic representation of artistic subjects. For this reason photography was always in step with the dissemination of Florentine works of art, enlarged reproductions of which adorned the homes of bourgeois scholars. Even the urban transformation measures concomitant to or that occurred after Florence became the capital of the newly formed nation were accompanied by photographic campaigns. In this case too photography demonstrated its memory value in relation to society and its history. (Ute Dercks)

Plan of the demolition and reconstruction of the city centre, approved on 8 March 1888, lithograph, 45 x 57.5 cm, inv. no 94237

Plan of the demolition and reconstruction of the city centre, approved on 8 March 1888, lithograph, 45 x 57.5 cm, inv. no 94237

Many of the photos and graphic works displayed in this online exhibition can be admired as part of the exhibition “FLORENCE!” at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, organized in collaboration with the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz,  November 22, 2013 – March 9, 2014.

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz
Max-Planck-Institut
Via Giuseppe Giusti 44 – Florence, ITALY
T +39 055 24911-1

Photo library
Palazzo Grifoni Budini Gattai
Via dei Servi 51 – Florence, ITALY
T +39 055 216707

About SACI

SACI is a US non-profit College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, for undergraduate and graduate students seeking accredited instruction in studio art, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Founded in 1975, SACI offers the following programs: Academic Semester/Year Abroad, Late Spring & Summer Studies, Venice Summer Program, Post-Bac in Conservation, Post-Bac in Studio Art; MFA in Studio Art, MFA in Photography, MFA in Communication Design, Low-Residency MFA in Studio Art, MA in Art History.

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