July 15, 2011

Lausanne, General View, Geneva Lake, Switzerland

This photochrome print of Lausanne is part of “Views of Switzerland” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). Located in southwestern Switzerland, Lausanne is the second largest city on the shore of Lake Geneva after Geneva itself. It is also the capital of the canton Vaud. Baedeker’s Switzerland and the adjacent portions of Italy, Savoy, and Tyrol (1913) characterized Lausanne as “picturesquely situated on the hillside." The site of a Roman military camp in around 15 BCE called Lousanna, the city evolved over time, with a large expansion taking place in the 13th century. The Cathedral of Lausanne, consecrated in 1275, is one of the city's most significant landmarks.

Piazza of the Cathedral, Milan, Italy

This photochrome print of the cathedral square (Piazza del Duomo) in Milan is part of “Views of Architecture and Other Sites in Italy” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). The Duomo di Milano (Cathedral of Milan) is one of the largest Christian churches in the world. Construction of the cathedral began in 1386 on the site of two older basilicas under the patronage of the prominent Visconti family. The cathedral took nearly five hundred years to complete. Nicolas de Bonaventure (active circa 1390), Jean Mignot (active circa 1400), Carlo Buzzi (died 1638), Francesco Maria Richini (1584–1658), and Aurelio Trezzi (1598-1625) were among the architects who oversaw the work. Built largely in the Gothic style, the cathedral is known for its triangular marble-faced brick facade, stained-glass windows, more than 130 marble spires, and more than 3,400 statues. The cathedral dominates the sprawling Piazza del Duomo. On the left side of the square is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a double arcade named for Victor Emmanuel (1820–78), the first king of the unified Italian state from 1861 to 1878. At the center of the square is an 1896 equestrian statue of the king by the sculptor Ercole Rosa (1846–93).

Exterior of the Coliseum, Rome, Italy

This photochrome print of the Coliseum is from the “Views of architecture and other sites in Italy” section from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). In 64–68 AD the Emperor Nero built an extravagant palace in the center of Rome. After he died, his successor, Vespasian (Titus Flavius Vespasianus) had an amphitheater built on the site of the lake within Nero's palace. Construction began around 70 AD and was completed circa 82 AD under Vespasian's son Titus. The structure consists of three levels of arcades with alternating Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns. It forms an ellipse, measuring approximately 190 meters long by 155 meters wide, and is about 50 meters high. The tiered seating could accommodate about 50,000 spectators who surrounded an oval-shaped arena that comprised the fighting stage. On this stage, gladiators, typically slaves, criminals, prisoners, or other individuals who had lost their rights as citizens, would fight to the death. The term “arena” comes from the Latin word for sand, which was spread on the stage to absorb blood from the fighters. Beneath the stage was an extensive complex that included tunnels and animal cages. Trap doors on the stage were used to add surprise to the spectacle. The Coliseum remained a center of Roman entertainment for nearly 500 years.

Fountain of Trevi, Rome, Italy

This photochrome print of the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) is part of “Views of Architecture and Other Sites in Italy” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). The fountain, 26 meters long by 20 meters wide, stands against the south side of the Palazzo Poli, a Baroque palace that was altered by Luigi Vanvitelli (1700–73) to accommodate the fountain and serve as its backdrop. The fountain dates back to ancient Rome, when this location was the terminal point for the Aqua Virgo aqueduct, which was commissioned in the early first century by the Emperor Augustus to supply water to the thermal baths near the Pantheon. (The name "Trevi" is derived from "Trebium," the former name of the area in which the fountain is located.) Around 1629, under the patronage of Pope Urban VII, the architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680) completed a design for a new fountain to replace an earlier one erected on this site in 1453 by Leon Battista Alberti (1404–72). The death of Urban VII derailed construction, however, and it was not until around 1730 that Pope Clement XII decided to restore the Trevi area and the architect Nicola Salvi (1697–1751) was commissioned to realize Bernini's design. Salvi died before he could complete the work, which was continued by Giuseppe Panini and finally completed in 1762. Within the large stone basin of the fountain is a figure of Neptune, the god of the sea, by Pietro Bracci (1700–73), along with figures on the side representing Health and Abundance.

Castle and Mediaeval Market Town, Turin, Italy

This photochrome print of a medieval castle and market town is part of “Views of Architecture and Other Sites in Italy” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). Situated along the Po River in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, Turin was the site of the 1884 Esposizione Generale Italiana Artistica e Industriale (Italian General Art and Industrial Exhibition). The exhibition featured a medieval castle, the Castello Mediaevale, and the medieval marketplace, Borgo Mediaevale, which were intended to convey to visitors an impression of life in the Middle Ages. Based on an idea by the architect Alfredo Cesare Reis Freira d'Andrade (1839–1915), the buildings were patterned after examples found throughout Italy, including the Castle of Fénis in the Aosta Valley and a village in the Piedmont. The 1906 edition of Baedeker's Italy: Handbook for Travellers called the structures "an interesting reproduction of a castle of the 15th cent., and of the little borough belonging to it."

The Clock Tower, Berne, Town, Switzerland

This photochrome print of the clock tower (Zeitglockenturm) in Bern is part of “Views of Switzerland” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). This tower, with its gilded face, was constructed in 1191 as the old city’s western gate. Over time, the tower also came to function as a city guard tower and a prison. The tower was rebuilt in the 15th century, at which point baroque embellishments were added. The tower’s signature astronomical clock was constructed by Kasper Brunner in 1527. Baedeker’s Switzerland and the adjacent portions of Italy, Savoy, and Tyrol (1913) informed travelers of “a curious clock, which proclaims the approach of each hour by the crowing of a cock, while just before the hours a troop of bears march in procession round a sitting figure.”