The first photographic process in wide use was the daguerreotype, and Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey was one of its pioneers. A “gentleman scientist” who was expert in rare plants and birds, he was also a skilled painter, illustrator, archaeologist, and architectural historian. During a two-year voyage, from 1842 to 1844, de Prangey captured the earliest surviving photographic images of the temples of holy Jerusalem, the majestic colonnades of the Acropolis of Athens, and the hidden relics of Italy, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Turkey. In France’s first monographic exhibition on de Prangey, all facets of his exploration—from the 1830s to the 1880s—are on display, examined within the larger intellectual and scientific sweep of the era. —E.C.
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