[Arrangement of Specimens]

Object Details

Title:

[Arrangement of Specimens]

Artist/Maker(s):

Hippolyte Bayard (French, 1801 - 1887)

Culture:

French

Place(s):

Paris, France (Place created)

Date:

about 1842

Medium:

Cyanotype [Direct Negative]

Dimensions:

27.7 x 21.6 cm (10 7/8 x 8 1/2 in.)

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This image is an early example of a scientific fundamental of photography--the light sensitive nature of certain chemical compounds. Without the use of a camera or lens, Hippolyte Bayard carefully arranged a delicate selection of laces and flora on a sheet of paper that was made sensitive to light with a combination of iron salts that produced a blue-toned cyanotype when developed. The sheet of sensitized paper with the objects placed upon it is exposed to sunlight in order to make a camera-less photogenic drawing.

The opacity of the object blocks the light in relation to its density, thus creating a silhouette of the object on the paper. Because the process was relatively uncomplicated, cyanotypes provided a quick method of recording easily recognizable shapes and patterns. Bayard filled the entire sheet of paper, creating a catalog of specimens that reveals the basic structure of each flower, leaf, feather, and scrap of fabric.

Exhibitions
Experimental Photography: Discovery and Invention (January 17 to April 2, 1989)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 17 to April 2, 1989
Photography Until Now (February 14 to August 19, 1990)
  • The Museum of Modern Art (New York), February 14 to May 29, 1990
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art, (Cleveland), June 27 to August 19, 1990
Arrows of Time: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 24 to April 2, 1995)
  • Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at UCLA, (Los Angeles), January 24 to April 2, 1995
Photographers of Genius (March 16 to July 25, 2004) (Rotation 1: 3/15/04 - 4/19/04)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 16 to July 25, 2004
Bibliography

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 287, ill.

Education Resources

Education Resource

Subjects

Grades

Format

A Natural Balance in Photography and Poetry

Students brainstorm adjectives to describe early photographs/cyanotypes, create a cyanotype and write balanced poetry using the adjectives.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts

K-2

Three/Five-Part Lesson