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Study photographs of ancient architecture, 1900s


Scope and Content of Collection

An assembled collection of modern photographs of ancient sites and monuments, concentrating on Greek and Roman architecture from the Greek Archaic through the late Roman Empire (6th century BC-6th century AD). Coverage is most complete for sites and monuments located in Greece and Italy, but the collection also includes photos of sites located in other countries, including Albania, Algeria, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and Yugoslavia. The cities for which major photographic documentation exists are, in Greece: Athens, Corinth, Delphi, Eleusis, Epidauros, Kos, and Olympia; in Italy: Agrigentum, Caere, Cosa, Herculaneum, Oplontis, Ostia, Paestum, Pompeii, Puteoli, Rome, Selinus, Syracuse, Tarracina, and Tivoli; Baalbek, Lebanon; Cyrene and Leptis Magna in Libya; Augusta Emerita, Spain; Palmyra, Syria; Thugga, Tunisia; in Turkey: Aphrodisias, Ephesus, Istanbul, Pergamon, Perge, and Priene; and Split, Yugoslavia.

The collection includes photographs from numerous sources, including commercial vendors and photographers; research institutions' archives; excavation campaigns; scholars' archives and collections; and photographic campaigns sponsored by the Getty Research Institute. Among the commercial vendors and photographers, the most important are: Alinari (including the Anderson and Brogi archives); Bulloz; Photographie Giraudon; Gabinetto fotografico nazionale, Rome, including the Antonio Giuliano collection; Hirmer Verlag; Barbara Bini; Alison Frantz; Guntram Koch; and Emile Serafis.

Research institutions' archives from which copy prints were acquired include: the Fototeca unione at the American Academy in Rome; Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (DAI), Athens and Rome; California Museum of Photography, Riverside, CA; École national supérieure des beaux-arts, Paris; and American School of Classical Studies, Athens. Photographs were also acquired from the Dept. of Classics, University of California, Los Angeles.

Excavation campaigns from which the collection holds selected photographs include those of Princeton University at Morgantina (Sicily); Bryn Mawr College at Murlo (Italy); the American Academy in Rome at Cosa (Italy); and the photographic record made by Eugene Gordon of excavations at Heracleia Lyncestra (Yugoslavia) and Aquincum (Hungary) as well as his photos of archaeological remains at Agrigento and Taormina (Sicily) and Aphrodisias, Aspendos, Ephesus, Perge, and Side (Turkey).

The collection holds photographs from a number of scholars' archives. Material from Berge Aran (1,516 photographs) depicts Roman, Byzantine, and vernacular monuments and structures in Turkey. William L. MacDonald's collection contributed study and publication photographs of ancient Roman architecture, particularly Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli. Approximately 200 copy prints depicting ancient Greek and Roman sites in the Near East were made from the Gertrude Bell archive at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (a catalog of the original collection of circa 6,000 images made between 1905-1914 was published in 1982). In addition, the collection includes photographs from the repository's Giovanni Becatti and Ludwig Goldscheider archives.

Photographic campaigns sponsored by the repository between 1987-1991 produced several groups of photographs within the collection, for each of which the repository holds both prints and negatives. From a project directed by William L. MacDonald, circa 450 images document Hadrian's villa at Tivoli, concentrating on overviews and details of the architecture, mosaics, and 18th-19th century graffiti. A group of 556 photographs of the Forum of Trajan in Rome come from a campaign directed by James E. Packer, designed to record significant architectural remains and to use photography to produce the first measured, large-scale, accurate archaeological site map of the Forum (cf. Special Collections, accn. no. 830054). Documentation includes photographs of the de Romanis drawings in the Accademia di San Luca in Rome, views of architectural fragments belonging to the Forum still on site or in Roman museums, and numerous aerial views and overview sections. Approximately 170 photographs taken by Barbara Bini provide complete documentation of the villa of Poppea at ancient Oplontis.

A project in 1988-89 produced 3,650 photographs documenting Roman architecture and art in most of the Roman sites in southern France. From another campaign come circa 1,500 photographs of 19th century architectural studies (drawings and watercolors) in the collection of the Ecole des beaux-arts in Paris (a number of the original studies were exhibited at the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1982). The drawings depict Pompeii, Greek sites, and Roman architecture, and include actual state and reconstruction drawings as well as detail studies of ancient architecture. Approximately 900 photographs commissioned from Roberto Sigismondi depict architecture in the ancient region of Campania known as the Campi Flegrei.


Arrangement is geographical, filed alphabetically by name of modern country, then name of ancient city or site, and monument.

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