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29/11/2003 - 25/01/2004

Roma 1850

The circle of the "Painter Photographers" of the Caffè Greco
Palazzo Caffarelli

Sites and monuments of Rome in the mid-19th century in the photographs of artists who frequented the Caffè Greco.
Exhibition organised as part of the twinning agreement between the Municipality of Rome and the Mairie de Paris.

The historic Caffè Greco, meeting place of literary circles, painters and sculptors from the time of its foundation in the second half of the 18th century, is located in the "quartiere degli artisti" (artisits Quarter) close to Piazza di Spagna in Via dei Condotti.
Towards 1850 a group of international artists gathered in the Caffè Greco to share their interest in the recent discoveries in the field of photography that had occured in France and England since 1839.
These painter-photographers contributed to a widerspread appreciation in Rome of the artisanal and little known technique of photography, dedicating their choice of subjects to urban views and monuments in the city where painted and etched reproductions were the prerogative.

They took part in what may be refered to as the first italian photographic school or "Scuola Romana di Fotografia".
These artists and intellectuals gave a uniqueness to the roman school, contributing to its ensuing international renown.
Amongst those noted members: from France, Frédéric Flachèron, Eugène Constant, Alfred-Nicolas Normand, Giacomo Caneva from Italy and James Anderson from England.
Many of these men were established painters and architects, such as Normand, and so added their artistic sensitivities to their photography.
For others the brief years of collective work sessions, photographing celebrated monuments and urban scenes, served as prologue to professional activities in the field of photography.

The exhibition, organized by the city council of Rome and Paris, is divided in seven thematic sections: ancient Rome, modern Rome, Panoramas, Tevere, Villas and Gardens, Sculpture and Portraits and consists of circa 100 original paper salt or albumen prints and paper negatives coming from the Archivio Fotografico Comunale di Roma, the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione, the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma, the Museo della Fotografia Fratelli Alinari di Firenze and from the prestigious Parisian collections of the Museum d'Orsay, l'Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts, la Societè Francaise de Photographie and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
A small selection of paintings by Ippolito Caffi, chronologically and thematically affined to the photographic works and a selection of works by contemporary photographers using antique negatives and original technical methods from the 1850's completes the exhibition.


Musei Capitolini, Palazzo Caffarelli

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