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The secret life of sculpture: notes from Giovanni Mariacher's fototeca at Padua

Authors: Bell, Peter Jonathan
Keywords: photography;Mariacher, Giovanni;Renaissance sculpture;Padua Civic Museum
Issue Date: 23-Feb-2011
Abstract: Giovanni Mariacher, the esteemed museum director and professor of art history, left his collection of photographs to the Civic Museums of Padua at his death. My survey of this archive last summer underlined the breadth of his expertise and the extent of his scholarship, which spanned all aspects of the arts of the Veneto. Even when the visitor doesn't find what he had hoped to, the photo archive can provide new perspectives on familiar objects and issues, offering as it does a look through the lens--or through the shoebox--of another. While I did not find the trove of photographs of unpublished sculpture from Veneto private collections that I might have hoped for, the photographs of sculpture that I did find, mostly of familiar objects in the museums of Venice and Padua, provided new insight to issues of condition, attribution, and display. The paper will outline some fresh starts suggested by photographs of sculpture in the Mariacher archive, and reexamine the scholar's writings on sculpture in light of his collection of images.
Description: Conference paper presented March 25-26, 2011.
Rights: Copyright Peter Jonathan Bell, 2011.
Appears in Collections:Photo Archives and the Photographic Memory of Art History, part III

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