Giacomo Caneva, Niobide Chiaramonti (Vatican, Museo Chiaramonti), c. 1850/52
Salt print from a paper negative, 20.8 x 13.1 cm
Photo: Bavarian State Painting Collections,
Bavarian State Painting Collections, Munich
SCULPTURE PHOTOGRAPHY IN ROME 1850–1870Alte Pinakothek
Pictures of famous sculptures from Antiquity in the Vatican Museums and on the Capitoline Hill were among the most popular motifs in early photography in Rome. Photographs of the ‘Apollo Belvedere’ or the ‘Capitoline Venus’ were not only cherished by travellers as souvenirs but also by reseachers and artists as pictorial documents. Taking photographs in rooms inside museums presented enormous technical challenges and required long exposure times that could take up to two days. The light moving across the room and the soft shadows gave early photographs their special character. The exhibition on the ground floor of the Alte Pinakothek presents a selection of 15 pictures by photographers ranging from Giacomo Caneva to Giorgio Sommer that also trace the rapid development of this medium from the first prints on salt paper to the technically refined pictures of around 1870.