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Eugene Atget
The Panthéon
Gelatin silver chloride print on printing-out paper

17.8 x 22.6 cm

J. Paul Getty Museum

Excerpt from The J. Paul Getty Museum Exhibition: In Focus: Architecture (October 15, 2013 to March 2, 2014)

Eugène Atget made this atmospheric study across the place Sainte-Geneviève toward the back of the Panthéon, a church boldly designed to combine the splendor of Greece with the lightness of Gothic churches. The church’s powerful colonnaded dome, Atget’s primary point of interest, hovers in the background, truncated by the building in the left foreground.

In order to make the fog-veiled Panthéon visible when printing this negative, Atget had to expose the paper for a long period of time. As a consequence of the long printing, the two buildings in the foreground are overexposed, appearing largely as black silhouettes. Together they frame the Panthéon, rendered entirely in muted grays. This photograph exceeds documentation to become more a study of mood and atmospheric conditions than of architecture.


Eugene Atget, French, (1857–1927)
b. February 12, 1857, Libourne, France
d. 1927

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