The Metropolitan Museum of Art Monumental Journey - The Daguerreotypes of Girault de Prangey

Monumental Journey - The Daguerreotypes of Girault de Prangey

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'Daguerreotype equipment in tow, de Prangey set off in 1842 from France to lands then largely unknown to the west: Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon. His rare images of sites and cities since altered by urban, environmental and war-wrought change are revelatory — for the history of photography, archaeology, architecture, politics.' - FT

The first extensive exploration of the groundbreaking daguerreotypes of Girault de Prangey, whose work features the earliest known images of the great monuments and sites of the eastern Mediterranean.

In 1842, the pioneering French photographer Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey (1804-1892) set out eastward across the Mediterranean with a custom-built camera to explore ancient lands that were largely unknown to the Western world. This book is the first to fully consider the hundreds of daguerreotypes that resulted from his three-year journey, many of which were made using innovative techniques that fascinate photographers to this day. The images, including the first-known photographic documentation of significant locations, offer tangible evidence of historic sites, many of which have since been destroyed, in places such as Greece, Italy, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and Jerusalem.

They are remarkable and unparalleled portraits of a world gone by. Copiously illustrated and featuring a geographic glossary of the sites and images, Monumental Journey sheds new light on the arc of Girault's career, the vibrant orientalist milieu of 19th-century France that shaped his work, and his inventive contributions to the nascent field of photography. It introduces modern audiences to a brilliant yet enigmatic talent, as well as the stunning images, many published here for the time, that make a major contribution to the histories of both photography and eastern Mediterranean.


  • Authors: Stephen C Pinson and Sylvie Aubenas
  • Hardcover: 238 pages
  • Date published: May 2016
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-1588396631
  • Product Dimensions: 28.1 x 25.0 cm

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