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.

Façade 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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