Bourges Cathedral: South Nave Aisle

Frederick H. Evansc. 1903

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Evans rejected the documentary style and glossy prints of commercial topographic photography as well as the painterly manipulations beloved by the Pictorialists, as turn-of-the-century fine-art photographers called themselves. For his interior views of French and British cathedrals—the work that was most celebrated during his life and is still most admired—Evans found a perfect balance of recording and expression. In the French Gothic cathedral at Bourges, much prized for the grace and unity of its 13th-century architecture and for its soaring 120-foot-high nave, Evans found the spot and moment when the towering columns and softly glowing light would best convey the hushed spirituality of the place. He reinforced that sense through his masterful use of the platinum print process, a medium characterized by a soft velvety surface and an exceptionally subtle gradation of tones.

The decorated mount, typical of the way Evans presented his work, is yet another declaration of his intention to make art rather than mere documentation.

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  • Title: Bourges Cathedral: South Nave Aisle
  • Creator: Frederick H. Evans
  • Date: c. 1903
  • Physical Dimensions: w22.1 x h28.4 cm (sheet)
  • Type: Photographs
  • External Link: MFAH
  • Medium: Platinum print
  • Credit Line: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, museum purchase funded by the Mary Kathryn Lynch Kurtz Charitable Lead Trust, The Manfred Heiting Collection

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