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#ParoledArchivio M for Montabone

The first photographic campaign of the Duomo’ stained-glass windows

M Come Montabone
18 February Feb 2019 0916 18 February 2019

The Archive has two wooden boxes with the label "Stabilimento Montabone di C. Marcozzi, piazza Durini 7, Milano". They originally contained 46 glass plate negatives representing the blinds of some of the oldest stained-glass windows.

Payment Mandate no. 75 of 16/04/1883enables us to trace the first photographic campaign of the stained-glass window of San Giovanni Damasceno, and to document the use of photographyat the Duomo’sconstruction site. The photographs were taken by Carlo Marcozzi, head of the establishment of famous Luigi Montabone from 1877 to February 1883. Indeed, the document reports that it was his brother Giuseppe who collected the payment, following the photographer’ssudden death.

The report attached to the mandate states that, as part of the restoration work carried out on the Duomo's stained-glass windows at the time, the Fabbrica’s architect Paolo Cesa Bianchi suggested portraying the blinds of some of them with watercolours. However, since the cost of the project was too high, the architect was persuaded by painter Pompeo Bertini, who restored the stained-glass windows, to rely on the photographic medium. To overcome Cesa Bianchi's doubts about the chromatic rendering of the photos, the painter proposed carrying out some interventions directly on the shots. In fact, the payment indicates the creation of two series of photos: 15 negatives that directly portray the blinds of the stained glass windows (silver nitrate plates) and 20 negatives that are the reproduction of photos depicting the blinds; Bertini intervened on these (collodion plates).

In the image: collodion negative depicting the episode La falsa lettera è recata all’imperatore[The false letter is brought to the Emperor], and made by Carlo Marcozzi for photographs of the stained-glass window of San Giovanni Damasceno taken for the Fabbrica.

Nell’immagine: negativo al collodio raffigurante l’episodio La falsa lettera è recata all’imperatore e fattura di Carlo Marcozzi per le fotografie della vetrata di San Giovanni Damasceno eseguite per la Fabbrica.