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A superb set of monumental early photographs of Italy by Fratelli Alinari of Florence, the world's oldest photography firm.

(ITALY) Alinari, Fratelli. A Superb Collection of Photographs of Italy

Italy: Alinari, 1867

Large folio (20 x 25 in.). Two volumes. Contemporary quarter calf. 134 albumen prints, mounted on heavy paper, each with manuscript caption. Various sizes, from 16½ x 21½ in. mammoth prints to several 3 x 4 in. prints. Some foxing, almost exclusively limited to margins of mounting paper. Some wear to binding, but a very handsome volume, with the photographs generally in fine condition.

Magnificent photographs from masters of the genre. Fratelli Alinari, founded in Florence in 1852, is the world’s oldest photography firm. The three Alinari brothers pioneered the use of the camera for reproducing artwork and architecture from the great Italian galleries for public consumption. They are also known for their advocacy of the photographic portrait and for their photographs of Italian buildings and monuments.

“The Alinaris were called to all the most important exhibits of the age. … The Alinari images played a fundamental role in the perception and knowledge of the Italian work of art” (Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography). In these two volumes, the Alinaris have focused on the architecture of the great cities of Italy. They capture the neoclassical elements of building façades and interiors as well as other city structures with exquisite detail and precision. They approach each subject from a unique perspective chosen to capture and draw attention to its most intriguing features – from the monumental Duomo and Campanile (dome and belltower) in Florence, to the balustrades of the Rialto Bridge in Venice, to the arches and columns of a cathedral doorway in Verona.

Volume I is devoted to Venice, including the Palais Ducal, St. Mark’s Place, and the Grand Canal. Volume II contains images of Florence, Pisa, Bologne, Padua, and Verona, including landscapes, architectural views, and occasional reproductions of famous works of art. These two volumes present an opportunity to acquire superb, early large-format images of Italy’s most famous buildings and settings in extraordinary high-quality prints by the most famous photographer in the field.