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Early Images of the Classical World: Daguerreotypes of the Monumental Journey


Olympieion, Athens, Viewed from the East, 1842. Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art/Qatar Museum Collections (IM.314)

In the 1840s, Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey, a French photographer and architectural historian, took thousands of photographic images of monuments of Greece, Italy, Egypt, and other countries during a three-year long trip around the Mediterranean. The daguerrotypes he produced are the oldest known surviving photos of these locations.

Monumental Journey: Daguerreotypes of Girault de Prangey, recently closed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Many of the daguerreotypes, however, are available on the Met’s website.

Fa├žade and North Colonnade, Parthenon, Athens, 1842. Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Ruins and Foreground, Acropolis, Athens, 1842. Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Pompey’s Column, Alexandria, 1842. Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Ramesseum, Thebes, 1844. Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey. Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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