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[Roman Arch at Orange]

Édouard Baldus (French, born Prussia, 1813–1889)

Date:
1851
Medium:
Salted paper print from paper negative
Dimensions:
35.3 x 26.2 cm (13 7/8 x 10 5/16 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, and Edward Pearce Casey Fund, 1990
Accession Number:
1990.1127
  • Description

    For the Missions Héliographiques, Baldus made two views of the Roman triumphal arch in the Provençal town of Orange. One shows the monument almost frontally, its visible face in shadow, but with sunlight glinting on the far edges of the arched openings; a man sits contemplatively on a stone beneath the central arch and another man stands nearby; through the arches, rows of poplars, a few houses, and the nearby hills are visible; the dark and imposing Roman arch frames nature, the contemporary town, and man. This is a scene that might have been depicted by a painter, draftsman, or printmaker. Baldus' other photograph from 1851, shown here, presents the arch from the opposite side at a slight angle in strong sunlight. The structure is a massive block of stone, an isolated object, its three arched openings described by flat, intensely dark swaths of shadow that impart a graphic power to the image. Baldus' assistant stands erect at the center of the picture, an inanimate measuring rod rather than the viewer's alter ego. At this single site in 1851, Baldus demonstrated two aesthetic tendencies-the picturesque rendering of a scene and the objectification of an architectural subject-a polarity that affected his work in varying degrees throughout his career.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on mount, recto LL: "EB-5382-C"; LR: "orange"; verso UR: "E.L.78.203"

  • Provenance

    André Jammes; Van Deren Coke; Hans Kraus, Jr.

  • Notes

    The negative for this image was made in 1851 as part of Baldus's "mission héliographique" and is now in the Musée d'Orsay. No other print of this image is known. [MD]

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
266282

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