Louis de Clercq (French, 1836-1901)
Albumen print from calotype negatives, Image: 20.7 x 15.2 cm (8 1/8 x 6 in.); Matted: 55.9 x 71.1 cm (22 x 28 in.). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1996.254
After fulfilling his obligation to a government-sponsored
expedition to the crusader castles of
Syria and Asia Minor, Louis de Clercq continued
his photographic exploration of the Holy Land,
moved on to Egypt, and returned to France
through Spain. From the probably several hundred
paper negatives he took during his extensive
travels, de Clercq published a selection of 222
albumen prints, divided into 6 volumes, which
were frequently bound as 5 albums, titled Voyage
This carefully posed panorama of the Syrian
coastline at Kaalat el Athlit, bathed in warm light
and luminous shadows, records the sweep of
space and rugged beauty of the site, emphasizing
its geographical and topographical features.
Interestingly, de Clercq’s use of the panoramas
represents an impressive technical achievement,
since the difficulties in mid 19th-century
photography only increased when the negatives
had to form a continuous image. His panoramas
also reveal the period’s zeal to convey as much
information as possible about the experience
of a place.
Cleveland, Ohio. The Cleveland Museum of Art; November 22, 2003 - April 7, 2004. "Signs of Life: Recent Photography Acquisitions", no exhibition catalogue.
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