Amiens, Northern Façade of the Transept

Amiens, Northern Façade of the Transept

1852

Henri Le Secq

(French, 1818-1882)

Salted paper print from calotype negative

Image: 32.3 x 23.2 cm (12 11/16 x 9 1/8 in.); Matted: 61 x 50.8 cm (24 x 20 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1996.253

Description

A pioneering French photographer, Le Secq is best known for his elaborate photographic studies of French architecture. His extensive photographic portrait of Amiens began in 1850 and continued for
several years. This detail of the cathedral’s exterior beautifully describes his skill at expressively
interpreting historic architecture. The photograph not only displays Le Secq’s preference and talent
for isolating fragments of buildings, but even more impressively attests to his ability to capture the play of light and shade over stone sculpture. He deftly used raking light to infuse vitality and plasticity to the centrally positioned carved figure and the architectural elements surrounding it. The lowered frontal camera position stresses an order and formality that Le Secq believed was inherent in Gothic cathedrals.

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