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Exquisite Reality: Photography and the Invention of Nationhood, 1851-1900 [VIRTUAL]

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Invented and refined in the 1830s and 1840s, photography was initially hailed as an apolitical medium, a pure marriage of science and art. The French critic Francis Wey celebrated its ability to represent what he called “exquisite reality” — to depict the world exactly as it was. Photography not only reproduces the world the that a photographer sees; it also reveals how they see it. The pictures featured in this exhibition document the ideologies, biases, and aspirations of artists, patrons, and audiences in the nineteenth century.

IMAGE: Gaetano Pedo Studio (Italian, 1880–1890), The Roman Forum, Rome (Roma, Foro Romano), 19th century. Albumen print. Museum Purchase Fund, 1973.63.2

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