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The Solemnity of Shadows: Juan Laurent’s Vision of Spain

Honoring Juan Laurent on His 200th Birthday

Juan Laurent (1816–1886) is a preeminent figure in the history of Spanish photography. The Gallery's department of image collections presents a selection of rare albumen photographs and two albums by Laurent and his company, with particular focus on his photographs of Spanish art and architecture. Through the successful commercialization of Laurent's excellent archive of photographs of historic monuments and city views, as well as through his reproductions of works of art from the Museo del Prado and the Royal Palace in Madrid, Laurent became the most important and recognizable trade photographer in 19th-century Spain. His city views include Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca, Valladolid, Sevilla, Madrid, El Escorial, Barcelona, Elche, Granada, Burgos, and Valencia.

This feature presents the photographs from the exhibition held in the East Building Study Center in 2011 (slides 1–29),  plus additional selections from the more than 660 photographs by Juan Laurent or his successors that are in the department of image collections. Unless otherwise indicated, all images are by Juan Laurent and are albumen silver prints made from collodion glass negatives; dates are those of the collodion negatives. For the full records of the photographs, click the highlighted links in the captions of the images in the slide show.