The exhibition celebrated 150 years of Fratelli Alinari, the renowned photographic studio that documented the changing cultural and social landscape of Italy from the mid-nineteenth century.

The firm was founded in Florence in 1854 by the brothers Leopoldo, Giuseppe and Romualdo Alinari at a time when standards of photography and techniques of reproduction were being revolutionised. It quickly established an eminent reputation through its iconic images of Tuscan towns and cities, and following unification – when Florence was briefly the capital of Italy – politicians, intellectuals and royalty all visited the studio to have their portraits taken. At the other end of the spectrum are their striking images of working class life and gritty street scenes.

These beautiful photographs featured in the exhibition vividly trace Italy’s relatively late transition from a rural economy to an industrialised nation, capturing a pivotal era in Italian history. But more than this, they also showed the development of a photographic aesthetic, in which unexpected angles and detailed views provide the means of reinterpreting the country’s sculpture and architectural landmarks.

This exhibition was organised in collaboration with Fratelli Alinari.

Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau on the set of La Notte by Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960 © Sergio Strizzi Photography

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Pasquarosa, Vase of Flowers, c. 1916

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