New Images of antiquity: photography in 19-century Italy

8 March 2018 – 20 May 2018

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaduengo

From March 8 to May 20, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo presents “Nuove immagini dell’antico: la fotografia dell’Ottocento in Italia”, an exhibition curated by Filippo Maggia gathering over 70 historical photographs belonging to Collezione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo has always acknowledged the primary role of photography in representing and translating the contemporary space we live in. Since 1998, the Foundation’s interest in Italian photography has found an expression in recurrent editions of the exhibiting project “Da Guarene all’Etna”, a showcase for young Italian artists, whom the institution invites to create photography projects about the landscape and the social and cultural geography of Italy.

Alongside this engagement, aimed at supporting and promoting current research, the Foundation has built a collection of photographs dating between 1845-1850 and the early decades of the 20th century. Besides having an intrinsic value, connected with the preservation and promotion of these rare paper documents, this collection is significant as a testimony to the major role historical memory plays in our country, as a key element without which it would be hard to understand the reasons for what we see in the present.

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo: “The Italian historical photography collection was born as a natural development of my interest in photography. Initiated in 1992 with acquisitions of works by contemporary authors, the Collection looked backwards. It set itself the ambitious goal of offering the public, over time, a picture of how the photographic language of our country has evolved from its early days to today. An analysis of the contemporary landscape cannot leave aside knowledge about historical material and an analysis of it”.
The selection presented in the exhibition includes many of the main photographers working in the mid-19th century, such as Henri Le Lieure and Charles Marville, with their wonderful images of Turin, Adolphe Godard with Genoa, the aerial views of the Milan Duomo by Hippolyte Deroche and Francesco Heiland, the Charterhouse of Pavia by Luigi Sacchi, the Verona Arena by Moritz Lotze, the Venice salted papers by Fortunato Antonio Perini and Domenico Bresolin, Florence through the lens of Leopoldo Alinari and Alphonse Bernoud, Enrico Van Lint with Pisa, the Roman monuments as portrayed by Robert Macpherson, Pierre Petit and Gioacchino Altobelli, down to the Greek Theater in Taormina, immortalized by Giorgio Sommer.
A visual journey in the Italy of the Grand Tour, of the mild climate and the beauties that artists and intellectuals all over Europe longed to visit, to the point that they often chose Italy as their new country of residence, so that they could celebrate its historical monuments and unspoiled nature.