Salt print from a glass negative 43.2 x 34.3 cms (16.98 x 13.48 ins) c.1855 JHG9657 Inscribed 'no 103' in the negative, lower left.
Stamped E. Baldus on the lower right of the mount and titled lower left 'Nouveau Louvre Rue Rivoli'
Mount: 50.7 x 44 cms
Image: 43.2 x 34.3 cms
Baldus's large-format photographs made using massive glass plate negatives are amongst his finest achievements.
Commissioned by the French government, Baldus was charged with documenting every aspect of the new Palace's construction, which was to be the Second Empire's largest building project. Consequently, over the course of two years, it also evolved into the largest photographic commission to date, and Baldus took over two thousand photographs ranging in subject matter from individual statuary to the grand frontal views of each completed pavilion, such as this example of the Pavillon de la Bibliotheque.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art describes these photographs as among his most carefully crafted and clearly articulated demonstrations of photography's unparalleled capacity to represent architecture, fully exploiting the medium's ability to render the play of light, the volume of architectural forms, and the most intricate details, unmediated by picturesque convention or personal style of draftsmanship.subject of this picture brings to bear the importance of the symbolism of the architecture of the Nouveau Louvre for the reign of Napoleon III, particularly in terms of the fusion of academic polarities. The temple relief demonstrates the liaising of the Sciences and the Arts, as typified by the Palace structure as a museum of archaeology and fine art. Beyond fulfilling an obvious documentary function, however, this oversized contact print is sharper than any contemporary enlargement, and evokes a richness and monumentality with clarity that continues to astound.