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Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey
Hexagonal Court, Temple of Jupiter, Baalbek
3 11/16 × 9 1/2 × 5/16 ins (9.3 × 24.1 × 0.8 cm)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. John A. Moran Gift, in memory of Louise Chisholm Moran, 2018, Accession Number: 2018.1
In 1842, the artist, archaeologist, and pioneer photographer Girault de Prangey embarked on a three-year photographic excursion around the eastern Mediterranean to study the origins of Islamic architecture. The ancient city of Baalbek in Lebanon was the site he photographed most, including this view of the ruins of the hexagonal forecourt of the Temple of Jupiter. Although GIrault was a product of the nineteenth-century Orientalist discourse that viewed Baalbek as a site of Ottoman decay, his project also could be seen as a precursor to the Ottoman government’s later attempt to recuperate and reclaim the Phoenician origins of the city.