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The Facade of Saint Julien le Pauvre
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Eugène Atget
French, Paris, 1898
Albumen print
8 1/2 x 7 in.
90.XM.123

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In this photograph of an alley leading to the facade of Saint Julien le Pauvre, a church built in the 1100s, the viewer's eye follows along the sloped gutter in the center of a cobblestone street. As the drain veers left, the viewer's eye shifts to the church's guardian, comfortably seated by the entrance and gazing at the camera.

The extreme clarity of Eugène Atget's photograph recorded the cracked and peeling details of the weather-beaten facade and the missing glass from its rose window. Clearly, a building had once stood to the left of where Atget placed his camera, although all that remains is a boarded-up, hollow space.