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Gustave Le Gray 
[Painting of The Campfires at Camp de Chalons by Bénédict Masson] 
1857 
  
Albumen silver print, from glass negative 
27.8 x 35.9 cm (10 15/16 x 14 1/8 ins) 
  
Metropolitan Museum of Art 
Gift of Mathew Davis Wolf, in memory of Diane Wolf, 1984, Accession Number: 1984.1194.11 
  
 
LL/40472 
  
Comments by curatorial staff from the Metropolitan Museum of Art [Accessed: November 2011].
 
In 1857, Le Gray was commissioned to produce an album of photographs documenting the maneuvers of the French Imperial Guard at the Camp de Ch"lons. His series of images encompassed every aspect of military life, from the daily routine in the camp to simulated combat. The firelit activities of the camp at night, however, were beyond the technical capacity of photography, leaving Le Gray to photograph a painter's rendition of a nighttime scene. The gap between the photographer's art and that of the painter is so wide, however, that Le Gray's picture tells more about the nature of these two media than about its supposed subject. 
 

 
  
 
  
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