Antonio D'Alessandri Pope Pius IX
Medium Albumen print from wet plate negative
Mount on original mount
Photo Date 1850s Print Date 1861c
Dimensions 15 x 12 in. (381 x 305 mm)
Photo Country Italy
Photographer Country Italy
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
Photographer's blindstamp on bottom recto of mount. Photo cut to oval.
Antonio D'Alessandri was one of the few priests to undertake a professional photographic career. He became interested in photography around 1852 and opened a studio with his brother Paolo four years later. They were known for their excellent portrait work, primarily for the Roman aristocracy and the Papal Court, and, until 1870, Antonio was the official photographer to the Pope. He was one of the first photographers to record military maneuvers in Italy. His photographs of the Papal troops and battlegrounds of Anzio in 1862 and later in 1867 at Mentana and Monterondo were remarkable documents of this period. See: Becchetti, Fotografi e Fotografia in Italia 1839-1880, p.194.
Blessed Pope Pius IX (13 May 1792–7 February 1878), born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving from 16 June 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal infallibility. The Pope defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, meaning that Mary was conceived without original sin. Pius IX also granted the Marian title of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, a famous Byzantine icon from Crete entrusted to the Redemptorist priests. In addition to this, Pius IX was also the last Pope to rule as the Sovereign of the Papal States, which fell completely to Italian nationalist armies by 1870 and were incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy. He was beatified in 2000.
Provenance: old collection of J. Harrison, Jr. purchased in 1861.
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