Photography was born (a bit) in Modena, too
Strolling around

Photography was born (a bit) in Modena, too

by /// August 31, 2021 /// Estimated reading time: < 1 minute

Strolling around

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Strolling around

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Strolling around

Interest
Strolling around

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In the early 1800s, one of the inventors of photography could be meet close to Piazza Grande. He was William Henry Fox Talbot, looking for Giovanni Battista Amici, among the best known optical instruments makers at the time, and his extraordinary laboratory in Contrada de ’Servi (the building still standing).

An experience to relive at the Gallerie Estensi, with L’impronta del reale. William Henry Fox Talbot. Alle origini della fotografia, devoted to the new form of representation of reality.

The exhibition (like web contents and the catalogue) points out the relationship between art and science in the 1800s that made salted paper and calotype processes possible: “a key discovery – explains Martina Bagnoli, director of the Gallerie Estensi – that, by allowing reproducibility in photography, changed our relationship with images forever“.

More than a hundred works on display: photogenic drawings, calotypes, daguerreotypes, the extraordinary correspondence between Talbot and Amici and some ‘photographic proofs’, preserved at the Biblioteca Estense, Talbot gave to Amici (rediscovered in 1977 and presented at the exhibition curated by Italo Zannier).

Talbot felt close to the Emilia-Romagna area: for instance, he was in contact with the Bolognese botanist Antonio Bertoloni and sent him an album with 36 calotypes, now at the Metropolitan Museum in New York (video at the Gallerie Estensi).

The exhibition also includes works by contemporary artists closely related to the photography of the origins, like Paolo Gioli, Luigi Veronesi, Ugo Mulas, Claudio Abate, Man Ray, Gillian Wearing and Franco Vaccari.

  • William Henry Fox Talbot, Leaf of a plant, 1839-1844, Modena, Estense University Library
  • William Henry Fox Talbot, Articles of China on two shelves, 1839-1844, Modena, Estense University Library
  • William Henry Fox Talbot, Table set for tea, 1841-1842, Roma, Central Institute for Graphics
  • Giovanni Battista Amici, Microscopio catadiottrico, 1814, Modena, Gallerie Estensi Ph. Dario Montardi 2013
  • Giovanni Battista Amici, Microscopio catadiottrico, 1814, Modena, Gallerie Estensi Ph. Dario Montardi 2013
  • Alphonse Bernoud, Ritratto di Giovanni Battista Amici, ante 1863, Modena, Estense University Library
  • William Henry Fox Talbot, Letter to Giovanni Battista Amici, 19 marzo 1822, Modena, Estense University Library
  • Giovanni Battista Amici, Minuta autografa, post febbraio 1842, Modena, Estense University Library
  • Plaque on the house of Giovanni Battista Amici in via dei Servi 55 Ph. A.Mascello 2021
  • Claudio Abate, Contatto n1 Gino De Dominicis, 1971, Roma, Central Institute for Graphics
  • Luigi Veronesi, Natura n23, 1951, Reggio Emilia, Panizzi Civic Library, courtesy Comitato Luigi Veronesi, Milano

L’impronta del reale. William Henry Fox Talbot. Alle origini della fotografia
until March 15, 2021 at Gallerie Estensi
Largo Porta Sant’Agostino 337, Modena

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