A Centennial Album: Drawing, Prints and Photos at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

March 9, 2017 at 4:24 pm (Art, Photography)

magic-flute

Gazing at this beautiful graphic on the cover of the Met’s Winter 2017 Bulletin, I thought to myself: Why, that looks like Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s backdrop for Mozart’s Magic Flute. More precisely, it’s identified as being by Karl Friedrich Thiele, “after” Schinkel’s design for The Hall of Stars in the Palace of the Queen of the Night. Here is the original by Schinkel:

Here is Diana Damrau, singing the Queen of the night’s famous – and famously challenging – aria, Der Hölle Rache:

Born in Prussia in 1781, Karl Friedrich Schinkel was a man of extraordinary gifts. He was not only a set designer but a painter and architect as well.

Morning (Der Morgen)

 

Medieval Town by Water

 

Castle by the River

 

Konzerthaus, Berlin

Altes Museum und Lustgarten, Berlin

 

Stolzenfels Castle, Koblenz

 

Karl Friedrich Schinkel 1781-1841

*****************************

Back to the Met Bulletin: For two hours I’ve been lost in image searches prompted by this slender, unpretentious little volume. Here are some of the results:

Edgar Degas, Self-Portrait, black chalk and graphite, 1857

 

Edgar Degas, Self-Portrait, gelatin silver print, 1985

 

St. Jerome in His Study, Albrecht Durer, engraving, 1514

 

The Salon of Baron Gros, Jean-Baptiste-Louis Gros, Daguerrotype, 1850s

 

Louis-Remy Robert, by Alfred Thompson Gobert, salted paper print from paper negative, ca. 1850

If ever it could be said that a person’s very soul has been captured in an image, then surely it was done in this portrait of Louis-Remy Robert by his friend Alfred Thompson Gobert. The two were colleagues at the Royal Porcelain Factory at Sèvres.  Commentary provided on the Met’s site explains how technical necessity resulted in a striking work of art:

Robert’s colleague Alfred Gobert, head of the Enameling Workshop at Sèvres, is shown here with his head slightly bowed and his eyes half closed (in part to help maintain his pose during a long exposure in bright sunlight), as if lost in thought. The shallow depth of field—only Gobert’s face is in focus—and the flecks of light and soft massing of shadows so characteristic of prints from paper negatives heighten the sense that this portrait is a privileged meditation by Robert on the interior world of his friend.

 

The Mountain Nymph, Sweet Liberty, by Julia Margaret Cameron, Albumen silver print from glass negative, 1866

We know of this model nothing but her last name, Miss Keene.

Students from the Emerson School for Girls, byAlbert Sands Southworth, Daguerrotype, ca. 1820

I confess I exclaimed with delight upon seeing this photo! This school was founded in 1823 by George Barrell Emerson, second cousin to Ralph waldo Emerson. It is described in the Bulletin as “the most prominent school for young women in Boston.”

 

Spiraea aruncus, by Anna Atkins, Cyanotype, early 1850s

Described in the Bulletin as “a superb example of  Atkins’s cameraless photograms of algae and plant specimens,” these and similar images were created by placing “plant samples directly on light-sensitized paper. The resulting cyanotypes, or blueprints, appear as negative images against a sea of Prussian blue.”

 

Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, London 1775–1851 London) The Lake of Zug, 1843 British, Watercolor over graphite

Ah, J.M.W. Turner, master of light….If you haven’t seen the film Mr Turner, featuring Timothy Spall’s brilliant and memorable portrayal of this genius of British painting, I recommend it very, very highly.

Just viewing this trailer made me yearn to see it again, in its entirety. Why aren’t there more movies like this?

 

St. George and the Dragon, Lewis Carroll, Albumen silver print from glass negative, 1875

 

Frontispiece design for “Peter Poodle, Toymaker to the King,” by William Henry Bradley, Graphite, black ink, watercolor and gouache, 1906

 

Sumner Healey Antique Shop, 942 Third Avenue Near 57th Street, Manhattan, 1936. Gelatin silver print, by Berenice Abbott

 

As usual, this intensive period of image searching took me far afield, in this case somewhat outside the province of the Met Bulletin:

Baron Antoine Jean Gros Rushing into Eternity, by Jacques Charles Bordier du Bignon

Date unknown, but probably not long after 1835, when Baron Gros committed suicide.

Study of cats, Eugene Delacroix

(Nine months later, our own Miss Marple, we still miss her so much.)

Eugene Delacroix, by Nadar, ca. 1855

 

 

 

 

 

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