Indepth Arts News: |
"Portrait of a City: Bruges 1847-1918"
2002-09-27 until 2002-11-17
Brugge 2002 - Arentshuis
Back in the second half of the nineteenth century, photography played a part in the dispute between those who wanted to preserve the city as it was and shield it from modern influences, and those who wanted to bring the city into the modern age. Conservative politicians crossed swords with liberals, proponents of the neo-Gothic with eclectic - and later modernistic - architects. Photographers were there on the ground recording the results. Those belonging to the traditionalist camp and usually from one of the many lithographic firms and so with a rather romantic outlook on life, cultivated a picture-postcard Bruges. Other more forward-looking looking individuals used the technological progress in photography to take impersonal, artificial and timeless photographs, which captured a city undergoing modernization.
What is important in this study is not necessarily what was shown of Bruges through photography, but rather how it was shown. This is illustrated by means of a number of very well-known and frequently photographed locations, such as the Jan Van Eyckplein, the Rozenhoedkaai, the Markt and the Burg.
Whilst perusing records in the Steinmetz Office of the Municipal Museums Bruges, researchers stumbled upon a unique collection of photographs by the Italian photographer Achilli Mauri (at his most active between 1860 and 1895) and a number of anonymous contemporaries of his. This discovery goes on show upstairs in the Arentshuis.