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Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey
14. Mosquée el Hakem, au Kaire
22 3/8 × 15 5/8 ins (56.9 × 39.7 cm)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Joyce F. Menschel Photography Library Fund, 2017, Accession Number: 2017.66.3
Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey was an artist, architectural historian, archaeologist, and pioneer photographer. He first came to prominence in the 1830s for several studies of medieval Islamic architecture in Spain and Italy, which were illustrated with prints made after his drawings and watercolors. He subsequently learned the daguerreotype process and, in 1842, pursued his research on a three-year photographic excursion around the eastern Mediterranean. He returned to France in early 1845 with one thousand daguerreotypes, including the earliest surviving photographs of Greece, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, and Jerusalem, and among the first daguerreotypes depicting Italy. The twenty-two lithographs included in this set of Monuments arabes form part of a larger, unrealized project to publish and disseminate many more of his daguerreotype views, which he carefully stored and archived as an essential part of his archaeological fieldwork.