Images of Italy
2/23–9/3/2023

Places of Longing in Early Photography

Gondoliers on the Grand Canal, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the antiquities of Rome: Numerous photographs by Giorgio Sommer (1834–1914), the company of the Alinari brothers (founded in 1854), Carlo Naya (1816–1882), and Robert Macpherson (1814–1872), among others, shaped the image of Italy as a place of longing. In an exhibition comprising 90 works, the Städel Museum will present a selection of early photographs of Italy from the years 1850 to 1880 from its collection.

Exhibition

About the Exhibition

For generations, people have been dreaming of the Mediterranean south. A lively tourist trade developed in the nineteenth century when railroads made the country more accessible.. For travellers, photographs of the main places of attraction became popular souvenirs even before the invention of the picture postcard and were distributed internationally by mail order. With photographic reproductions of artworks, the medium also opened up new possibilities for the discipline of art history, which was firmly establishing itself in those years. In the 1850s, Johann David Passavant, then director of the Städelsches Kunstinstitut, acquired photographs for the museum’s collection. From these prints, both the art-interested public and students of the affiliated art academy were able to get an idea of southern Europe and its artistic and natural treasures. This brought distant countries closer while, simultaneously, the motifs in circulation determined what was considered worth seeing. To this day, the sceneries captured in photographs at that time continue to have an impact.

Curator: Dr Kristina Lemke (Head of Photography, Städel Museum)

Picture: Giorgio Sommer, Sorrento: View of the city from the west (Detail), ca. 1880–1890, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main; Enrico Van Lint, Pisa: The Leaning Tower (Detail), ca. 1855, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main

Gallery

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    Carlo Naya, Venice: View of the Marciana Library, the Campanile and the Doge’s Palace, ca. 1875

    Carlo Naya (1816–1882)

    Venice: View of the Marciana Library, the Campanile and the Doge’s Palace, ca. 1875
    Albumen print mounted on cardboard, 41,3 x 54,1 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main

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    Enrico Van Lint, Pisa: The Leaning Tower, ca. 1855

    Enrico Van Lint (1808–1884)

    Pisa: The Leaning Tower, ca. 1855
    Albumen print mounted on cardboard, 14,5 x 10,9 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Photo: Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main

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    Giorgio Sommer, Naples: The Eruption of Mount Vesuvius on 26 April 1872, 3.00 pm, 1872

    Giorgio Sommer (1834–1914)

    Naples: The Eruption of Mount Vesuvius on 26 April 1872, 3.00 pm, 1872
    Albumen print mounted on cardboard, 18,1 x 24,1 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, property of Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.
    Photo: Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main

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    Giorgio Sommer, Milan: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, ca. 1868–1873

    Giorgio Sommer (1834–1914)

    Milan: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, ca. 1868–1873
    Albumen print mounted on cardboard, 24,0 x 18,2 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Photo: Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main

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    Gioacchino Altobelli, Rome: Fishermen on the Tiber near the Castel Sant’Angelo, ca. 1860

    Gioacchino Altobelli (1814–1878)

    Rome: Fishermen on the Tiber near the Castel Sant’Angelo, ca. 1860
    Albumen print mounted on cardboard, 27,7 x 38,0 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Photo: Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main

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    Carlo Ponti, Venice: Bridge of Sighs, ca. 1860–1870

    Carlo Ponti (1823–1893)

    Venice: Bridge of Sighs, ca. 1860–1870
    Albumen print mounted on cardboard, 35,2 x 25,5 cm
    Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
    Photo: Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main

Programme

Programme

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Art Talks

Held in Time: The Romantic Image of Italy
Thursday, 13 April, 7.00 pm

English is your native tongue and you’d like to talk to others about art in that language? Or you’re a non-native speaker and would be interested in building on your knowledge of English outside your professional environment? With Art Talks we offer a programme of guided tours providing a relaxed atmosphere in which the fine arts will inspire you to perfect your English. The prerequisite is good command of English; no special knowledge is required.

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