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Stereographs Project

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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Alinari

Other: Fratelli Alinari 
Includes: Giuseppe Alinari 
Includes: Leopoldo Alinari 
Includes: Romualdo Alinari 
Active:  Italy
The Italian Fratelli Alinari (Alinari Brothers) consisted of Romualdo Alinari (1830-1891), Leopoldo Alinari (1832-1865), and Giuseppe Alinari (1836-1890). They photographed the architecture, artistic heritage, landscapes and towns of Italy. The company they founded has evolved into the Alinari publishing empire. 
Stereographs project 
Business locations 
Firenze (Florence), Italy 
Roma (Rome), Italy 
*[Romualdo, Leopoldo, Giuseppe Alinari] Via Nazionale 8; prolific pub.; Italian scy. to #6700s. Sold views in Firenze (Agent R. Brunoni), Roma (Alinari & Cook), Napoli (Strada S. Caterina A Chiaja 1). L. Alinari worked alone in Roma, 60s; B. 32, D. 65. G. Alinari worked alone in Firenze, 70s-80s; B. 36, D. 92. R. Alinari B. 30, D. 91. Opened shop in Firenze, 54. The Alinari Co. also issued stereo postcards in the 90s/00s. Also seen as & Co. 
T.K. Treadwell & William C. Darrah (Compiled by), Wolfgang, Sell (Updated by), 11/28/2003, Photographers of the World (Non-USA), (National Stereoscopic Association)
Credit: National Stereoscopic Association with corrections and additions by Alan Griffiths and others.
NOTE: You are probably here because you have a stereograph to identify. Please email good quality copies of the front and back to so we can create reference collections for all.

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Fratelli Alinari (the Alinari brothers) 
1870 (ca)
Family history 
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Supplemental information

Although Rome was the primary destination on the travelers of the Grand Tour in the 19th century, Florence and Venice were also much visited and therefore it was also in these two cities that Italian photography spread and the demand for images of the most important monuments and the characteristic views grew. The demand became of such importance that some artists started studios to supply the need for visual souvenirs. The phenomenon in Florence began in the 1840s but it was towards the end of that decade and the beginning of the 1850s that the oldest of the three Alinari brothers, Leopoldo (1832-1865) a lithographer, started to use a camera obscura, perhaps in collaboration with the Venetian photographer Domenico Bresolin, During this time he seems to have known Eugene Piot that he could have commissions from him for the photos of Pisa for "L'Italie monumentale". The talent of Leopoldo was noticed by his employer the printer, Luigi Bardi, and they opened a photographic studio under the Bardi name. Leopoldo Alinari in 1852 opened his own studio in the Via Cornina in Florence near Luigi Bardi who sold in his shop Leopoldo's photographs. The images were rigorously numbered and listed with the number commonly shown on the image in the lower right. The earlier images were printed on salt paper but this was soon replaced by albumen prints of a large size, 36 x 24 cm. These early photographs were always mounted on cardboard and they almost always bear the blindstamp of Bardi.
In 1854, Leopoldo encouraged by the success that he was having, left Bardi and established his own studio together with his two brothers, Romualdo (1830-1891) and Giuseppe (1836-1891). At this date, 1854, began the long and successful history of the Alinari Brothers (Fratelli Alinari), a company which still exists today and has the Fratelli Alinari Museum of the History of Photography in Florence (
Fratelli Alinari, besides photographing Florence, devoted themselves to the images of the most important Tuscan cities along with those of Umbria, Lucca, Siena, Perugia etc were all photographed and in 1856 they published their first catalog "Photographies de la Toscane et des Etats Romains, chez L. Alinari". They also left the small studio on the Via Cornina and moved to a new and larger studio at 8 Via Nazionale. In 1872 they opened a branch "Alinari & Cook" in Rome on the Via del Corso, 90 and one in Naples on the Strada Santa Caterina a Chiaja.
Meantime the firm saw the advantages of effective marketing and participated in the most of the international exhibitions; beginning with the 1861 Florence exhibition and their photographs were shown in Vienna, Paris, Milan etc., always receiving recognition and prizes.
In the early years of Fratelli Alinari they also had a portrait studio and this was especially significant in the brief period Florence was the capital of Italy before Rome became the seat of government. This work was later passed to external photographers and the quality declined to the point that the portrait business was abandoned.
Over the years Fratelli Alinari purchased the negatives, prints and archives of James and Domenico Anderson, Chauffourier, Brogi and various other photographers increasing the vast collection of negatives created by the Alinari company. After a varied history the firm is still very active and has diversified its activities with photographic archives, printing and a highly successful publishing house still based in Florence. The remarkable legacy of the Fratelli Alinari is now preserved in the beautiful Fratelli Alinari Museum of the History of Photography inaugurated in 1985 and now under the direction of Dr Monica Maffioli.
[Kindly contributed by Marco C. Antonetto, 2008]  

Internet biographies

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Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Auer, Michele & Michel 1985 Encyclopedie Internationale Des Photographes de 1839 a Nos Jours / Photographers Encylopaedia International 1839 to the present (Hermance, Editions Camera Obscura) 2 volumes [A classic reference work for biographical information on photographers.] 
• Capa, Cornell (ed.) 1984 The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book) p.22-24 
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Alinari.] 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

• Gruber, Renate and L. Fritz Gruber 1982 The Imaginary Photo Museum (New York: Harmony Books) p.239 
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