Size Matters. Scale and Measure in Photography


The study of proportional relationships and questions of scale is an essential component of artistic creation. Small-sized designs for works then executed in monumental proportions often give an idea of the procedural nature of the genesis of the work precisely because of the difference in size. Giambologna's terracotta sketch for the Appenine of the Medici Villa in Pratolino is an example of this. The small bronze copy of the Apollo of Belvedere on the other hand recalls the widespread diffusion of the original after its discovery at the end of the 15th century. The idea of an encyclopaedic inventory of the world in miniature resounds in the dolls' kitchen. However, it is generally difficult for observers to deduce from photographs the size of the objects represented in them. If, as in the case of the Apollo and its copy, all references to the surrounding environment have been removed, the two works in photographic reproduction appear to have similar dimensions. Even the equestrian monument of Colleoni by Verrocchio, in the image where it stands out against a retouched white background, could be seen as a bronze statuette, a small copy of itself. Its monumentality is only apparent from the context, the façade of the church of San Zanipolo which we see in the background of another photograph. But the question of the relationships between large and small do not only concern the objects represented, but rather also the photographs themselves: like the view of the Fondaco dei Turchi in Venice in carte de visite size, which can be associated with a 19.2 x 26.4 cm negative in Naya's Archive.

Unidentified photographer: terracotta model of Giambologna’s Apennine Colossus, 33 x 51 cm, Firenze, Bargello, baryt print, 19.0 x 25.3 cm, before 1936, inv. no. 111060

Unidentified photographer: Giambologna’s Apennine Colossus, park of the Demidoff villa, Pratolino, h. ca. 10m, baryt print, 28.5 x 23.4, before 1957, inv. no. 154394

Luigi Artini: miniature wax model of the Dwarf Morgante after Giambologna, h. 10 cm, Sesto Fiorentino, Museo Richard Ginori della Manifattura di Doccia, baryt print, 1978, 23.7 x 17.9 cm, inv. no. 407564

Luigi Artini: The Dwarf Morgante by Valerio Cioli in Boboli garden, Florence, h. 116 cm, baryt print, 21.2 x 17.4 cm, 1972, inv. no. 579444

Roberto Sigismondi: The Dwarf Morgante, now in the Stanzonaccio of the Boboli Garden, Florence, h. 116 cm, digital photograph, 21.8 x 16.6 cm (print), 2008, inv. no. 597267

Unidentified photographer: The Apollo Belvedere, h. 224 cm, Vatican City, Museo Pio-Clementino, albumin print, 25.2 x 19.0 cm, before 1900, inv. no. 11480

Unidentified photographer: miniature copy of the Apollo Belvedere by Willem Tetrode, 16th century, h. 68 cm, Florence, Bargello, baryt print, 25.8 x 20.0 cm, before 1971, inv. no. 272483

Unidentified photographer: dolls’ house kitchen, 18th century?, cliché, 13 x 20.8 cm (print), inv. no. 178213

G.B.Brusa: Verrocchio’s Colleoni equestrian monument, Venice, h. 395 cm (without basement, albumin print, 20.0 x 25.1 cm, before 1898, inv. no. 2013

Studio Anderson: Verrocchio’s Colleoni equestrian monument, h. 395 cm (without basement), silver-gelatin print, 26.0 x 20.0 cm, before 1929, inv. no. 55357

Luigi Artini: rock cristal column by Bernardino and Cristofano Gafurri, 16th century, h. 106 cm (with basement), Florence, Museo degli Argenti, baryt print, 23.3 x 5.2 cm, around 1975, inv. no. 337685

Studio Anderson: Piazza Colonna in Rome, silver-gelatin print, 19.8 x 25.9 cm, before 1929, inv. no. 61533

Unidentified photographer: The Turkish Warehouse (Fondaco) in Venice, albumin print, 6.2 x 10.8 cm, shot before 1861, inv. no. 418099

© KHI in Florence | 28.11.2020 11:46:26