Images of Italy

Travel routes to art: Owing to its ancient past and wealth of art treasures, Italy had already long been a favourite destination for artists, scholars, and affluent citizens. In the mid-nineteenth century, the new medium of photography further inflamed the yearning for Italy. In the years that followed,thanks to the invention of the railway, more people than ever were able to set off for the South and the land of their dreams. Photographic views of the most popular destinations were sold as souvenirs right on site or marketed all over Europe by way of mail-order trade. The spread and technical refinement of photography moreover offered art scholars a means of studying artworks in faithful reproductions independently of location. It was in the 1850s that then director Johann David Passavant acquired the first photographs for the Städel collection. In the German art-historical perception, Italy and its art were outstanding and exemplary. Photographic views of the same accordingly account for a large proportion of the Städel Museum’s photography holdings. They have lost nothing of their appeal to this day.

83 Artworks
Created by
Städel Museum

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