© Robert MacPherson (1814-1872) The Cascata delle Marmore near Terni, c. 1858 Albumen print, 42.2 x 31.3 cm
© Calvert Richard Jones (1804-1877) The Colosseum, Rome,
1846 Calotype, 18.9 x 22.7 cm
Photography and painting have had a lasting impact on the perception of Italy since the 19th century. Painters travelled to Italy to make sketches and paintings of its southern landscapes and folk traditions. Photographers followed their example, but they quickly opened up new areas of interest, such as photographs of historic monuments and contemporary events. Foreign travellers explored the famous landscapes, art treasures and historic sites in ever-growing numbers, and what had once been the Grand Tour of the privileged classes developed into modern tourism. Travellers provided both patrons and a viewing public for painters and photographers. The introductory part of the exhibition explains, by way of select examples, the characteristics and compositional techniques of early photography in Italy. The early days in Rome are documented by some of the first photographs ever taken there, including some by Calvert Richard Jones. Key types of photographic image are then explored, such as nature photography, studies of clouds, photographs of sculpture and genre scenes. Compositional techniques such as tonal gradation, perspective and reflected light are explained and illustrated by outstanding examples.
© Gustavo Eugenio Chauffourier (1845-1919) Civita Lavinia (Lanuvio)´,
c. 1870 Albumen print, 19.8 x 25.7 cm
The tour then leads on through five galleries of the Neue Pinakothek – from the Nazarenes to the so-called "Deutsch-Römer" – where selected photographs are displayed alongside paintings from the collection. Seen in this context, similarities and differences emerge. In the area of landscape painting, the "heroic" landscapes of Joseph Anton Koch and Johann Christian Reinhart, in which the Italian countryside is interpreted through the lens of the "sublime", are juxtaposed with large-format photographs by James Anderson and James MacPherson, whose images of waterfalls, rocks and ancient ruins capture a similar sense of lofty nobility.
© Filippo Belli (1836-1927) Genre scene in the Alban Hills, c. 1875
Albumen print, 25.3 x 18.5 cm
In the gallery devoted to the "Deutsch-Römer", where Arnold Böcklin’s paintings conjure up the Arcadian idyll, visitors can see the sensitive nature studies of Giacomo Caneva and Carlo Baldassare Simelli and the sentimental evocation of ancient Italy in the photographs of Wilhelm von Gloeden and Wilhelm Plüschow.