Oct 4, 2007

Courtyard, Alhambra

Courtyard, Alhambra


Charles Clifford

(British, 1819–1883)

Albumen print from wet collodion negative

Image: 29.5 x 40.7 cm (11 5/8 x 16 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 61 cm (20 x 24 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1999.113



A solitary male figure sits on the low step in the Court of the Lions, one of the palace’s two principal courtyards. This view emphasizes the building’s architectural elements and intricate molded plaster ornamentation. The brilliant highlights and dense shadows create a remarkable composition of abstract forms. Fallen into disuse, the Alhambra was an alluring and romantic reminder of past glories for travelers during this early era of photography.

An accomplished topographical photographer, Charles Clifford lived in Madrid from 1852 until his death in 1863. He became the official photographer to Queen Isabella II in 1858, chronicling her public life and producing photographs of views all over Spain.

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