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Jérusalem, Casque trouvé dans le Jourdain, 1
Salted paper print, from paper negative
23.5 x 33.3 cm (9 1/4 x 13 1/8 ins) (image)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005, Accession Number: 2005.100.373.72
Curatorial description (Accessed: 10 January 2018)
For Salzmann history was in the details. Though the ravages of time, natural forces, and human conflict erased much of ancient cities, fragments hinted at the existence of civilizations such as the Kingdom of David, the Roman Empire, and earlier phases of the Ottoman Empire—all models for Second Empire France. Salzmann’s focus on the smallest details—a frieze’s vegetal decoration, loose statuary, a wall’s abstract patterns, or a helmet’s winged figure—gives his photographs a rare combination of directness and ephemerality. He would return to the holy city on two more archaeological expeditions in the 1860s. The creation of the Jerusalem album was just one step on a costly and grueling path that carried him to Algeria, Egypt, and Greece in his efforts to reconstruct the past from archaeological ruins.