The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of February 23, 2024

Courtyard, Alhambra

Courtyard, Alhambra

(British, 1819–1883)
Image: 29.5 x 40.7 cm (11 5/8 x 16 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 61 cm (20 x 24 in.)
Location: not on view


A solitary male figure sits on the low step in the Court of the Lions, one of the palace’s two principal courtyards. This view emphasizes the building’s architectural elements and intricate molded plaster ornamentation. The brilliant highlights and dense shadows create a remarkable composition of abstract forms. Fallen into disuse, the Alhambra was an alluring and romantic reminder of past glories for travelers during this early era of photography.

An accomplished topographical photographer, Charles Clifford lived in Madrid from 1852 until his death in 1863. He became the official photographer to Queen Isabella II in 1858, chronicling her public life and producing photographs of views all over Spain.
  • Al-Andalus: Art from Islamic Spain (Islamic art rotation). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (October 29, 2019-October 25, 2020).
  • {{cite web|title=Courtyard, Alhambra|url=false|author=Charles Clifford|year=1857–58|access-date=23 February 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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