|Contextual notes: |
This composition by the Swedish born photographer Oscar Gustav Rejlander (1813-1875) clearly owes its layout to the traditions of classical painting with the visual structure being based on Raphael's fresco of the 'School of Athens' (1509-11) that is in the Vatican.
To achieve the effect he used actors and photographed different pieces of the overall design and used the negatives to construct the final piece. The scene has the moral theme where the characters in the center have to make a choice between the path of virtue and the path of evil and vice. Thirty two glass negatives were used to create the final image.
More recently the Scottish artist and photographer Calum Colvin has explored the same theme.