Through 100 photographs taken between 1850 and 1880, the exhibition Steps off the Beaten Path: Nineteenth-Century Photographs of Rome and its Environs encourages a "walking tour" through Rome with recognizable sites among the out-of-the-way scenes nineteenth-century Romans and Europeans encountered in their daily lives. The exhibition opens at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
on Sunday, October 11.
Steps off the Beaten Path was first presented at the American Academy in New York and Rome between 2006 and 2008, and draws works from the Collection of W. Bruce and Delaney H. Lundberg. The project was curated by Lundberg and Pinto. Jay A. Clarke, the Clark's Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, worked with Ralph Lieberman, guest curator for the Clark presentation.
Ralph Lieberman is an art historian and a photographer of architecture and sculpture. He spent many years living and working in Venice, first on a Fulbright grant, and then for several years on fellowships from the Kress Foundation, New York University, and the Committee for the Rescue of Italian Art, which was founded after the 1966 floods in Florence and Venice. His Renaissance Architecture in Venice, entirely illustrated with his own photographs, appeared in 1982. Since 1983 he has lived in the Berkshires, dividing his time between teaching and photography. He taught art history and architecture at many places, including Williams College and the Rhode Island School of Design. His art-historical photographs are in study collections at Harvard, the National Gallery in Washington, the Frick Collection, the Clark, and the Getty Museum as well as the major art-history libraries in Rome, Florence, Venice, and Munich.
Dr. Lundberg and his wife Delaney have been collecting photographs since 1970 focusing on nineteenth-century images and early photographic processes. They have largely collected paper photography related to Italy, and American daguerreotypes including images of the Gold Rush. Parts of their daguerreotype collection have been displayed at the Smithsonian, the Oakland Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Getty Museum. The Italian images have been shown in Munich at the Stadtmuseum, and at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. Lundberg is on the Visiting Committee of the Department of Photography at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and is a founding member of the Daguerrian Society.
Pinto co-curated the original Steps off the Beaten Path exhibition for the American Academy in Rome in 2007. He is the Howard Crosby Butler Memorial Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University's Department of Art and Archaeology. A Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, Pinto's research interests center on architecture, urbanism, and landscape in Rome, especially in the eighteenth century. Among his publications are The Trevi Fountain (1986) and Hadrian's Villa and its Legacy (1995), the latter co-authored by William L. MacDonald. At Princeton Pinto offers courses on garden history, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture, and Rome as a center of artistic production through the ages. His recent publications include Pietro Bracci and Eighteenth-Century Rome, Drawings for Architecture and Sculpture in the Canadian Centre for Architecture and other Collection with Elisabeth Kieven (2001).
Technical innovations, artistic daring, and shifting socio-political circumstances led to a dramatic change in the photography of Rome in the late nineteenth century. Photographers of the Eternal City began to capture everyday scenes alongside ancient ruins, Baroque churches, and backstreets on the verge of being transformed by industrialization. Through the images in Steps off the Beaten Path viewers today can step into a Rome that was about to step out of the pre-industrial age. The exhibition is on view at the Clark October 11, 2009, through January 3, 2010.