One of the most prized categories of early photography was the reproduction of artworks, a role in which photographs largely replaced engravings in book imagery during the mid-19th century. Photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other works were compiled in albums, ranging from surveys of museum collections and catalogues of works by single artists to illustrated travel guides and archaeological reports. While such albums have often been valued for documentary purposes, their broader role in the institutional development of art has, until now, been overlooked. The first book on the subject, this collection of twelve essays explores topics such as how the acclaim of artists like Rubens grew because their paintings reproduced so well in photographs, how Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes were given a new public identity by the photographer's choice of striking details never explored in traditional prints, and other important ways in which photographically illustrated publications influenced the experience and the history of art.
Published by the National Gallery of Art, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts/Distributed by Yale University Press