Size Matters. Scale and Measure in Photography


By altering the dimensions of the objects they reproduce, photographs transform our perceptions of artworks. This is problematic however in the case of objects that deliberately play with scale. Alberti’s Holy Sepulcher, for instance, is neither an object nor a building - it is neither movable nor inhabitable - an ambivalence that photographs cannot capture. Forced to choose a viewpoint, the photographer can only cast the tempietto as one or the other. Photography makes details appear huge and monuments small. It nullifies the power of size while visualizing the connections between objects that are dimensionally incomparable. Take, for instance, Pope Leo III’s triclinium. Despite the inclusion of a string of figurines, its photograph levels down its colossal size and presents it as if it were a diminutive tabernacle, indeed its possible model.

Ivo Bazzechi: The Holy Sepulcher ‘tempietto’ in Florence’s San Pancrazio, baryt print, 23.5 x 18.2 cm, 1960s/early 1970s, inv. no. 383646

Studio Brogi: Pope Leo III’s triclinium in Rome, albumin print, 24.7 x 19.2 cm, before 1900, inv. no. 245155

Unidentified photographer: Reliquary of the Holy Founders of the Order 17th-18th century, Florence, San Lorenzo, baryt print, 22.0 x 16.6 cm, before 1959, inv. no. 139779

Unidentified photographer: Reliquary, Florence, Church of San Lorenzo, baryt print, 17.3 x 12.0 cm, before 1959, inv. no. 162038

Unidentified photographer: San Pietro in Montorio in Rome, albumin print, 37.4 x 26.2 cm, before 1900, inv. no. 13871

Unidentified photographer: wood model of San Pietro in Montorio, 19th century, h. 105,2 cm, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, baryt print, 25.8 x 19.0 cm, before 1987, inv. no. 445427

Unidentified photographer: wooden model of the San Firenze church, designed by Pier Francesco Silvani, before 1668, 270 x160 x 250 cm, Florence, Bardini Museum, baryt print, 14.7 x 10.3 cm, before 1972, inv. no. 280018

Studio Anderson: model of Augustus’ mausoleum, Rome, Castel San Angelo, silver-gelatin print, 25.8 x 20.0 cm, before 1930, inv. no. 61671

Paolo Bacherini: wooden model for the the façade of San Lorenzo in Florence, from Michelangelo’s project, 1518, 216 x 283 x 50 cm, Florence, Casa Buonarroti, baryt print, 17.6 x 23.4 cm, 2002, inv. no. 575968

Pozzi-Bellini: foot of Giambologna’s Apennine colossus, Pratolino, park of Villa Demidoff, total h. ca. 10 m, baryt print, 23.9 x 16.3 cm, before 1980, inv. no. 368452

Romualdo Moscioni: Castel del Monte (Bari), albumin print, 27.0 x 38.8 cm, before 1893, inv. no. 4254

Unidentified photographer: The Roman aqueduct in Segovia, silver-gelatin print, 12.5 x 18.0 cm, 1932, inv. no. 323548

© KHI in Florence | 19.06.2021 05:31:38