Oct 2, 2007

Fountain of Notre-Dame at Saint-Brieuc, Brittany

Fountain of Notre-Dame at Saint-Brieuc, Brittany

c. 1853

Louis-Rémy Robert

(French, 1811–1882)

Salted paper print from calotype negative

Image: 32.2 x 26.1 cm (12 11/16 x 10 1/4 in.); Paper: 34.6 x 26.8 cm (13 5/8 x 10 9/16 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1984.17

Edition: believed to be a unique print



In the early 1850s, Robert made a series of photographs that would be copied in lithography by Emile van Marcke, an accomplished artist who worked at the Sèvres factory with Robert at this time. Robert’s photographic journey captured seven sites—all featuring medieval architecture—in a small section along the northern coast of Brittany. For this picturesque view, he included the entire building, a small 15th-century Gothic pavilion erected over the fountain of Notre-Dame of Saint-Brieuc and whose square façade was positioned on a slight diagonal. Robert provided a sense of place by including a portion of the 19th-century chapel behind it, as well as flanking trees and a path leading out of the composition. For this reason, he may have also added a seated woman, dressed in traditional Breton costume, under the frontal arch. Due to the required length of exposure, the movement of the trees was recorded which, along with broad areas of bright light and dark shadows, provides a strong sense of atmosphere.

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