Views of Florence from the print collection of the Photothek
An Online Exhibition by the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut
The "acquisition of a large collection of illustrations suitable for comparative studies" was one of the main aims of the Kunsthistorisches Institute in Florence right from its establishment in 1897. This early collection, which came from donations and bequests, contains not only conventional photographic material but also engravings and prints. Photography soon established itself as the preferred instrument of art-historical research in place of other portrayal and reproduction mediums, so that today's collection of photographs evolved from this core. The stagnant set of more than one thousand prints from the founding period of the institute was merged with the photo archive in the Thirties, then separated from it again later. Today, they are stored in the photo library as 'Rariora'. To make this material, which is interesting in many respects, available to the academic community via the Internet, the photo library has started capturing the entire collection electronically. Right now, users can consult about one quarter of the plates, mainly in large and medium formats, in the digital photo library. It is not surprising that in this vast and heterogeneous collection the views of Florence form the largest group. These plates constitute an important pool of historical maps and views of the city of Florence. The selection shown here ranges from maps and vedute to views of individual monuments and architectural complexes from the 16th to the 19th century.