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Paris1914.com

Rare Vintage Photos of Early 20th Century Paris

Paris1914.com
Paris1914.com

In 1903, Auguste and Louis Lumière invented a technology that changed not only how photographs were made, but also how people were able to see the world. They called it autochrome, and it became the first generally available process for color photography; before it, snapping color pictures required a photographer to set up three cameras that each used a separate color filter and superimpose them into one photo. The Lumières' invention utilized the potato (or, as these Frenchmen would have said, la pomme de terre) to capture images in what would now be considered a complicated process—but at that time, it was a dramatic step forward in technology.

Experimenting in their family’s factory, which already made black-and-white plates to be widely used by the public, the brothers grabbed some potatoes and started peeling. They ground the vegetable into tiny grains and separated the grains into three batches, dyeing some red-orange, some green, and some blue. The dyed particles were thoroughly mixed, then doused over a glass slide that had just been coated in a varnish. More varnish was added on top of the particles and then the slide was coated with a photography emulsion—a light-sensitive coating of bromide floating in gelatin. The potato particles acted as a filter while a photo was being taken, recording the intensity of light in each of the three colors.

Auteuil metro station on May 1, 1920. Photo courtesy Paris 1914.

The brothers found that their process worked. There was just one trick: When shooting an image, the subject had to remain perfectly still for the required exposure time of 60 seconds. The photograph that resulted was reminiscent of a pointillist painting—a technique where an artist uses tiny dots of various colors to create an image—but was still a vibrant photograph for the time. The Lumières patented the process in 1903 and unveiled it in 1907.

Now, rare photographs of Paris in the early 20th century that used the Lumières’ innovative process have emerged through the Paris 1914 project, a site dedicated to autochrome photography of Paris that showcases some of the images from the Albert-Khan Museum.

Aubert Palace in 1925. Photo courtesy Paris 1914.

You can check out more of the photographs here.

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Museum Discovers Classic Renaissance Painting Hidden in Its Own Collection
Andrea Mantegna circa 1475
Andrea Mantegna circa 1475
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A long-lost painting by a master artist of the Renaissance was recently rediscovered in the storeroom of an Italian museum near Milan, according to The Art Newspaper and The Wall Street Journal.

The painting in question, Andrea Mantegna’s 15th century The Resurrection of Christ, was found by a curator at an art museum in the city of Bergamo. The Accademia Carrara has been in possession of the Mantegna painting since the 19th century, but long ago discounted it as a copy. While working on a catalogue for the museum in March, Accademia Carrara curator Giovanni Valagussa took note of the tempera-on-panel work and began to investigate its origins.

Count Guglielmo Lochis purchased the painting in 1846, cataloguing it as an original Mantegna; it was bequeathed to the museum as part of his collection after his death in 1859. But decades later, other experts cast doubt on the originality of the work, first re-attributing it to the artist’s son, and later suggesting that it was a copy that was not even made in his workshop. The museum removed it from display sometime before 1912, and it has been in storage for more than a century.

A painting depicting Jesus rising from the dead while soldiers look on
The Resurrection of Christ
Andrea Mantegna, Accademia Carrara

Upon inspecting the painting, Valagussa suspected it was more than just a copy. The painting features a small cross at the bottom of the image that looked disconnected from the rest, and the structure of the back of the painting made it seem like it might be part of a larger work. Valagussa tracked down another Mantegna painting, Descent Into Limbo, that seemed to fit underneath—the paintings are likely two halves of one image that was cut apart.

The Accademia Carrara also conducted an infrared survey of The Resurrection of Christ, discovering that the artist drew nude figures first, then painted over them with images of clothed soldiers, a technique that Mantegna was known for.

A world expert on Mantegna, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Keith Christiansen, did his own analysis and believes the painting in Bergamo to be an authentic, high-quality Mantegna. That means that the Accademia Carrara’s forgotten wood panel, previously insured for around $35,000, is probably worth between $25 million and $30 million.

The museum hopes to one day bring the two parts of the painting, The Resurrection of Christ and the privately owned Descent Into Limbo, together in an exhibition in the future.

[h/t The Art Newspaper]

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USPS Is Issuing Its First Scratch-and-Sniff Stamps This Summer
USPS
USPS

Summertime smells like sunscreen, barbecues, and—starting June 20, 2018—postage stamps. That's when the United States Postal Service debuts its first line of scratch-and-sniff stamps in Austin, Texas with perfumes meant to evoke "the sweet scent of summer."

The 10 stamps in the collection feature playful watercolor illustrations of popsicles by artist Margaret Berg. If the designs alone don't immediately transport you back to hot summer days spent chasing ice cream trucks, a few scratches and a whiff of the stamp should do the trick. If you're patient, you can also refrain from scratching and use them to mail a bit of summer nostalgia to your loved ones.

Since it was invented in the 1960s, scratch-and-sniff technology has been incorporated into photographs, posters, picture books, and countless kids' stickers.

The first-class mail "forever" stamps will be available in booklets of 20 for $10. You can preorder yours online before they're unveiled at the first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony at Austin's Thinkery children's museum next month.

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