The images in these books derive from technologies invented in David’s lifetime — photography and mechanized engraving apparatuses. Each translates the sculptor’s relief medallions into two-dimensional form, allowing hundreds of objects to be collected in a single tome.
Like many of his contemporaries, David was deeply suspicious of photography and refused to acknowledge its artistic worth. However, he valued its documentary capabilities and sometimes worked from photographic images when making drawings after his monuments. Produced after David’s death, the book of photographs displayed here is one of the first photographically illustrated albums. The images are taken from plaster casts of the medallions rather than bronze examples.
Les Médaillons de David d’Angers
(Paris: Ch. Lahure, 1867)
Book, 447 albumen prints attributed to Étienne Carjat
Les Médaillons de David d’Angers. Collection de 125 Planches, accompagnée d’un portrait de David d’Angers, gravé d’après d’Hebert, et précédée d’une Préface par Émile-Soldi (Paris: A. Lévy, 1883)
Book, 125 plates
American Numismatic Society