[Plaster Casts of Bishops' Miters, South Porch, Chartres]
Charles Nègre (French, 1820–1880)
Salted paper print from paper negative
Image: 22 x 32.5 cm (8 11/16 x 12 13/16 in.)
Gilman Collection, Purchase, The Howard Gilman Foundation Gift, 2002
Not on view
Trained as a painter, Nègre was one of the era's most skilled photographers of architecture, possessing a particular sensitivity to the ways in which light and shadow animate the surfaces of centuries-old monuments. He made this study of three plaster casts of architectural details for a monograph on the great Gothic cathedral in Chartres. As architects set about systematically documenting and restoring Chartres and other major monuments of the Middle Ages, photography, with its remarkable powers of description, was embraced as an essential tool of their effort. Here, Nègre positioned a cast of the tiara from a thirteenth-century figure of Pope Gregory the Great between two bishops' miters, creating a detailed yet engagingly surreal image.
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on print, verso, bottom left corner: "B-22 [encircled]" "No 41"
By descent to Joseph Nègre, Grasse, great-nephew of the artist; André and Marie-Thérèse Jammes, Paris, before 1963; [sold, Sotheby's Paris, March 22, 2002, lot 541]