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John Brampton Philpot and Photography in 19th-Century Florence

Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1865–1873. Michelangelo, David, marble sculpture, 1504, Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence. Featuring the David still clothed with the loin covering added by 16th-century city officials, this photograph was taken before the sculpture was moved from its location outside the Palazzo Vecchio to the Galleria dell’Accademia for protection in 1873.

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J. B. Philpot, View through Piazzale Uffizi, Florence, Facing North, 1855–1860. Michelangelo’s David can be seen in the Piazza della Signora under an awning, a protective measure undertaken before the sculpture was ultimately moved to its current location inside Galleria dell’Accademia.

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Alphonse Bernoud, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, c. 1850–1872. In this bird’s-eye view of the Piazza Signora, Alphonse Bernoud (1820–1875), a contemporary of Philpot, showcases the grandeur of the Palazzo Vecchio and frames the figure of Michelangelo’s David in the main entrance to the building.  

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Giacomo Brogi, Piazza della Signora, Florence, c. 1873–1881. Brogi (1822–1881), who took up a studio in Florence in 1863, also captured the Piazza della Signora; however, David is not visible here, having already been moved from its placementin front of the Palazzo. 

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1850–1860. Benvenuto Cellini, Perseus with the Head of Medusa, bronze sculpture, 1554, Florence. This bronze sculpture depicting the mythological story of Perseus beheading Medusa stands in the Loggia della Signora on the Piazza della Signora.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1878. Michelangelo, Madonna with Child, marble, 1521–1531, Sagrestia Nuova, San Lorenzo, Florence. Often referred to as the Medici Madonna, this sculpture is an unfinished work intended for the never-completed Medici tomb at San Lorenzo. 

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Alphonse Bernoud, Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, c. 1850–1872. Bernoud captures Florence’s skyline with the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore as the centerpiece.

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Giacomo Brogi, Baptistery of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, c. 1866–1867. In this photograph the baptistery of the Florence Cathedral, which sits in the piazza front of the church, Brogi foregrounds the significantly smaller, octagonal structure.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1850–1860. Luca della Robbia, Cantoria, Santa Maria del Fiore, marble sculpture relief, 1437–1439, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence. The sculpture relief of a group of young singers aptly reflects their original installation along the galleries for singers and musicians in the sanctuary of Santa Maria del Fiore.

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Alphonse Bernoud, Santa Croce, Florence, c. 1850–1872. The Franciscan church of Santa Croce sits before a nearly empty piazza.

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Alphonse Bernoud, Santissima Annunziata, Florence, c. 1850–1872. The camera captures a quiet moment in front of the basilica church.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870. Andrea di Cione, The Dormition of the Virgin, marble sculpture relief, 1359, Orsanmichele, Florence. A detail of the sculptural decoration for the tabernacle of the church of Orsanmichele.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870. Michelangelo, Portrait of Andrea Quaratesi, drawing, 1530. Philpot’s photographs of prints and drawings of the Uffizi represent a range of artists and works, demonstrating the breath of the collection as it existed in the 19th century.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870. Michelangelo, Profile Study, drawing, 16th c.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870. Michelangelo, Head of a Damned for Last Judgment, drawing, 16th c.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870. Leonardo da Vinci, Female Portrait, drawing, 15th c.

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Alinari, Uffizi Galleries, c. before 1890. While Philpot was documenting the contents of the Uffizi’s collection of prints and drawings, Fratelli Alinari—a photography firm founded in Florence in 1852—captured the artworks as they were hung in the galleries.

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Alinari, Uffizi Galleries, c. before 1890. This photograph depicts a variety of religious paintings as well as portraits installed in the Uffizi galleries, complimented by ornate frames and decorative furniture.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870. Raphael, Study for Saint George and the Dragon, drawing, c. 1506. This drawing is a preliminary sketch for Saint George and the Dragon, 1506, a painting in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Art.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870. Raphael, Woman with a Jug, drawing, c. early 16th c.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870. Titian, Landscape with Town, drawing, 16th c.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870. Giorgio Vasari, Portrait Studies, drawing, 16th c.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870. Michelangelo, Study for Moses, drawing, c. 1513. A preliminary sketch for Michelangelo’s monument sculpture for the tomb of Pope Julius II in Rome.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870. Francesco Albani, Putti, drawing, 17th c.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870. Giorgione, Parade Group, drawing, late 15th–early 16th c.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870.  Andrea Mantegna, Judith with the Head of Holofernes, pen, brown ink, over chalk, on white, now yellowed paper, 1491.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870. Salvatore Rosa, Man in Turban, drawing, 17th c.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870. Jacopo Pontormo, Study for Visitation, drawing, c. 1528. A preparatory sketch for the artist’s oil painting of Mary’s visit to her cousin, Elizabeth, installed in the Church of San Michele e San Francesco in Carmignano, outside Florence.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870. Domenico Ghirlandaio, Papal Profiles, drawing, 15th c.

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Photograph: J. B. Philpot, c. 1860–1870. Domenichino, Biblical Figure, drawing, 17th c.

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