Image: 42.3 x 53.7 cm (16 5/8 x 21 1/8 in.); Paper: 42.3 x 53.7 cm (16 5/8 x 21 1/8 in.); Matted: 61 x 76.2 cm (24 x 30 in.)
Dudley P. Allen Fund 2009.350
Nowadays Venice usually receives between 26 and 30 million visitors annually.
This romantic view of a nearly empty, moonlit Piazza San Marco is a tourist’s dream of Venice—and dream it is, rather than reality. The light-sensitive coatings of photographic negatives around 1870 were unable to record such detail in the dark, so Carlo Naya photographed his celebrated nocturnes during the day then manipulated the exposure in the darkroom. The highlights on the water and on the columns on the right, along with all the gaslight flames, were hand painted on the negative (he missed one lamp on the left). The sun, conveniently hidden behind a cloud, becomes the moon.
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