Since its foundation in 1897, the photo library of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz has developed a tradition of exchange with the academics working at the institute. In particular, this has influenced the campaigns carried out by the photo library, which were often conceived to support specific research projects and which in turn were accompanied by the critical perspective of the interested researchers. This is also the case for the photo campaign that forms the main point of interest in this online exhibition: A complete documentation of the frescoes of the upper church of San Francesco in Assisi, undertaken in 1977 by Luigi Artini, the institute photographer of the time.
From a historical perspective, mid-Italian art of the 13th and 14th centuries can be considered a well-represented area of the research done at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz. The specialist’s eye has always had a fundamental influence on the results of the documentary photography. This was also the case with Artini’s campaign, which reveals a particularly reserved director’s touch, aimed at the greatest possible objectivity and bereft of any attempt to use photography to document a preconceived art-historical opinion.
The commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the devastating earthquake at Assisi in 1997 is an opportunity to exhibit this material, supplemented by photographs kindly made available by the Sacro Convento of the Basilica di San Francesco in Assisi, as well as a chance to emphasize the importance of documentary photography, which is used for the purpose of preserving and restoring our cultural heritage. The project was completed in cooperation with the Leipzig University of Applied Sciences.