Homeless Paintings of the Italian Renaissance
April 15, 2012 5:23 AM   Subscribe

Homeless Paintings of the Italian Renaissance.
"A particularly important nucleus of the [Harvard] Photograph Archive's collection consists of a group of images of Renaissance Italian paintings that Berenson famously classified as “homeless,” that is, works that were documented by a photograph but whose current location was unknown to him....Berenson published some of his photographs of artworks “without homes” with the express invitation and hope that their owners, public or private, might come forward and claim them as their own...It is in this spirit.. that we have developed the project to catalog, digitize and make available online the Photograph Archive’s images of "homeless" paintings by Italian artists between the thirteenth and the sixteenth centuries. By the project’s end--scheduled for the summer/fall of 2012--we will have published on the Internet records and images, often rare or unique, of around thirteen thousand pictures."
posted by vacapinta (4 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thirteen thousand? OMG.
posted by Segundus at 6:42 AM on April 15, 2012


Things disappear for lots of reasons; wars, fires, floods, earthquakes or other disasters, or have disappeared from view through theft or after a sale into the hands of unknown collectors. Not to mention the vast warehouses of institutions and known dealers/collectors. Just ask the Wildensteins.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:36 AM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's good to see that they've digitised the notes on the back of the photographs, as well as the images themselves, recognising (as they should) that the photographs are valuable as historical objects in their own right.

This is particularly timely, as photographic archives are under threat at the moment. The Tate Gallery and the V&A threw away their archives recently; luckily the Tate's archive was rescued just in time (out of a skip, allegedly) and transferred to the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art, but the V&A's archive was consigned to a 'secure data disposal service' and has now gone forever. I hope Harvard's initiative will shame other institutions into taking better care of their photographic collections.
posted by verstegan at 7:37 AM on April 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is particularly timely, as photographic archives are under threat at the moment. The Tate Gallery and the V&A threw away their archives recently; luckily the Tate's archive was rescued just in time (out of a skip, allegedly) and transferred to the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art, but the V&A's archive was consigned to a 'secure data disposal service' and has now gone forever. I hope Harvard's initiative will shame other institutions into taking better care of their photographic collections.

Unbelievable.
posted by jayder at 10:33 AM on April 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


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