The online exhibition focuses on “Florentine Views”, which represent the largest group by far within this heterogeneous collection. The exhibition is structured by subject. It begins with a range of views which clearly illustrate the changes as well as the constants in the visual appearance of the city between the 15th century and the 19th century. The exhibition includes a copy from 1758 after the famous Florentine chain map (created around 1485, now in the Museum of Prints and Drawings (Kupferstichkabinett) in Berlin), which was adapted in many later views of the city.
The city maps allow a differentiated view over the city and its monuments, documenting the urban growth of Florence over more than 300 years. Stefano Bonsignori’s map from 1584 uses an axonometric perspective to provide both accurate views of the buildings and the exact route of the roads.
Particularly numerous are the 19th century maps, which illustrate the urban development of the city.
The following sections of the exhibition deal with architectural ensembles such as the cathedral complex, the squares, the palaces, the bridges and the gardens. Several plates document the condition of Florence Cathedral before completion of the neogothic front in 1887. Our prints also include a bequeathed view of the rchitecture of the San Pier Maggiore church, which was demolished in 1783. This demonstrates the special source value of the collection.
The last section of the online exhibition is dedicated to “historical events” and provides a brief excursus on the use of print media in the context of the Italian unification movement of the 19th century.
With the digitalisation of its print inventory, the photo library of the Kunsthistorisches Institute has not only made this resource accessible to online users but at the same time also taken a first step towards the academic study of this important partial collection.
The next online exhibition by the photo library opens on July 7, 2008 and is devoted to the mediaeval art of Georgia.