Charles Nègre (French, 1820-1880)
Notre-Dame, Paris, circa 1853
Waxed paper negative
33.8 x 23.9 cm
Partial watermark "J WHATMAN"
From his high vantage point in the afternoon light Charles Nègre (1820-1880) obtained this unobstructed view of the towers and portals, a position isolating the monument as a unified work of art within the image’s frame. The images show the stained glass removed from the central rose window, and a wooden cover and scaffolding surrounding the central portal, both of which date to when the cathedral’s façade underwent restorations starting in 1853. Both the negative and the variant positive, are the result of a separate exposure. Considered together the photographs offer insight into Nègre's working process, making multiple exposures of varying length in similar optimum lighting conditions and refining and revising his technique in an attempt to do justice to his subject.