Project Description

The photographic section of the Pompeo Mariani Archives ©, is among the most spectacular legacies of the artist’s atelier. The compositional quality of photos, both on paper and on glass plates, exposed with bromide salts, is a specific testimony to this “youngest of the art forms”, born at the beginning of the nineteenth century, which captivated no only the famous French Impressionists but also many Italian artists on the other side of the Alps. Particularly interesting are the photographs depicting Mariani with palette, canvas and brushes busy painting, almost suggesting a picture within a picture – an iconographic device widely employed by the artists since the Renaissance, but here interpreted with the new technical media. And then the mountain landscapes, marine atmospheres, historical spots, posing models. Mariani’s field of visual experimentation with the first rudimentary cameras was already truly broad. We can say with a fair bit of certainty that some technical and visual ideas might have come from Mariani’s uncle, Gerardo Bianchi (1842 – 1916), younger brother of Mosé Bianchi, who, despite being a somewhat mediocre painter, was a successful professional photographer working in Monza and Milan.

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