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Voyage en Orient et en Espagne Vol. 2: Chateaux du Temps des Croisades en Syrie

Louis de Clercq (French, 1837–1901)

H. Jannin (French)
J. Blondeau et Antonin
Albumen silver prints from paper negatives
20.4 x 28.5 cm (8 1/16 x 11 1/4 in.)
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.100.500.2 (1-37)
  • Description

    Wishing to compare the Islamic architecture of Spain with the Arab sites he had just seen in Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, de Clercq returned to Paris by way of the Iberian Peninsula. In Seville he photographed the Tower of Gold, a twelve-sided tower built in 1220 as part of the defensive structure of the Alcazar, its name deriving from the color of the glazed tiles that had once covered its exterior.
    Whereas de Clercq depicted the massive crusader castles of Syria in compositions that convey a sense of weight and solidity and the antiquities of Egypt in starkly abstract terms, he responded to the complex and delicate details of Islamic architecture with lighting and compositions of a more painterly cast. Instead of presenting the Tower of Gold close up and in isolation, de Clercq showed it from afar, situated on the sloping bank of the Guadalquivir River, flanked on one side by trees and on the other by the masts and rigging of docked boats, making it but one element in a dreamlike vision.
    This plate appeared in the sixth and final volume of de Clercq's publication, "Voyage en Espagne. Villes, monuments & vues pittoresques."

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Volume inscribed: "A Monsieur le Comte de Tanlay // Hommage de l'auteur // Louis de Clercq"; each image titled and numbered with seal stamped on page below images

  • Provenance

    Count de Tanlay; [François Braunschweig]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, September 1, 1979

  • Notes

    Rolf Mayer/Cantz publications includes a catalogue raisonne of the de Clerq oeuvre. All the plates are reproductions of the 222 prints in the Gilman collection.

    This is also one of ten known sets (some incomplete). (See p. 83 of R. Mayer/Cantz publication)

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History