Anton Schranz The Citadel with Mosque and Ruins, Cairo, Egypt
Medium Salt print from waxed paper negative
Photo Date 1852c Print Date 1852c
Dimensions 8-/3/4 x 10-1/4 in. (203 x 260 mm)
Photo Country Egypt
Photographer Country Malta
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Signed "A. Schranz" in the negative. An untrimmed salt print in fine condition. Anton Schranz II (although his negatives are usually only signed A. Schranz) was born probably in Spain on the island of Minorca in 1801, but later became a Malta national. His Austrian father (also Anton) was an artist of some note who married Elizabeth Howard-Tuduri in Minorca, Spain in 1794 and had several children. The family later moved to Malta--probably to the harbor city Valetta because both the father and sons have numerous paintings of this harbor in their oevre--in the early 1800s, by some accounts around 1817. There seems to be considerable confusion between the father and the elder son. Shranz worked with paper calotype and collodion wet plate negatives and salt and albumen prints. But like his father, he was chiefly an artist, who probably used photography in his art. He appears to have been photographically active only a short period from about 1852 to 1854 and took architecture and landscapes of Malta and Egypt (largely of Cairo), and probably also visited Turkey (then Constantinople) and Greece, because some of his art prints are of scenes from those countries. Schranz is mentioned in Kathleen Howe's "Excursions along the Nile: The Photographic Discovery of Ancient Egypt" and Nissan Perez's "Focus East: Early Photography in the Near East (1839-1885)". According to Nissan Perez, Schranz was hired by Lord Castlereagh in 1843 during the pair's trip to the Near East at that time. The book later published by Castlereagh was illustrated by engravings after drawings by Schranz. Perez says that Schranz heavily retouched his negatives, although oddly this print and the others illustrated by Perez and Howe show no such retouching. Although exceedingly rare, images by Schranz are held in the collections of the University of New Mexico Art Museum, the New York Museum of Modern Art, the George Eastman House, the Michael Wilson Center of Photography and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center. He is listed in the Auer & Auer and George Eastman House databases. One of Cairo's most popular tourist attractions is the Citadel which houses a number of museums, ancient mosques and other sites, located on a spur of limestone that had been detached from its parent Moqattam Hills by quarrying. The Citadel is one of the world's greatest monuments to medieval warfare, as well as a highly visible landmark on Cairo's eastern skyline. This is a superb image and the print is a very fine one with virtually no flaws.
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