Jan 24, 2008

Cathedral from Corso Francesco, Milan

Cathedral from Corso Francesco, Milan


Albumen print from wax paper negative

Image: 35.9 x 26.8 cm (14 1/8 x 10 9/16 in.); Matted: 66 x 55.9 cm (26 x 22 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1996.354



While little is known of the life of the Parisian amateur photographer Léon Gérard, his photographs give some indication as to his travels. In 1857 he visited Nuremberg, Bamberg, the Rhine Valley, Switzerland, northern Italy and Loire-et-Cher in France. Working with waxed paper negatives and albumen prints, he produced images with a sfumato effect, prefiguring the pictorialists. In Cathedral from Corso Francesco, Milan, we are presented with the bustle of a busy street leading to the marvelous late Gothic Milan Cathedral, which here shimmers in an effervescence and almost disappears before the eye. Exhibiting his travel photographs in 1861, Gérard was praised by the eminent art critic Ernst Lacan for creating works which "distinguish themselves by a harmonious aspect, a sharpness of detail that stops just short of being cold, a transparency of tone that allows one to peer into areas of deepest shadow, and skillfully rendered aerial perspective."

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