Figural medley: At the origins of XIXth Century anthropological portrait

  • Alberto Baldi Università di Napoli Federico II, Italy


During the second half of the XIXth century, Europe, the United States and Russia witnessed a blossoming interest in the use of photography in the anthropological field, its specific use was not very clear and defined yet; as a consequence, its heuristic methodologies, technical shooting modalities, stylistic elements and figurative conventions were not clear either. We range goes from anthropometric photography to an ethnographic and folkloric portrait painting signed at the same time by anthropologists and travellers, professional photographers looking for exotic subjects, amateur photographers and soldiers who encourage a figural medley characterised by scientific, commercial and artistic veins that slowly finds its definition in some of its prevailing features, in primis those of the portrait with pictorial origins, however continuously declined and reinterpreted in several ways. In this context Anthropology seeks some links with aesthetics.

How to Cite
Baldi, A. (2017) “Figural medley: At the origins of XIXth Century anthropological portrait”, Anuac, 6(1), pp. 271-300. doi: 10.7340/anuac2239-625X-2839.