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A donation to the Archives

The Duomo Tells Its Story

11 March Mar 2019 1629 11 March 2019

The Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo has always been able to rely on the support of numerous benefactors who, throughout the centuries, have contributed to maintaining the Cathedral through donations and bequests, often of varying natures:not only money and valuable objects, but also wood, wool, coal, and wine.

Of no lesser value are the donations that have, over time, enhanced the Veneranda Fabbrica's artistic and cultural patrimony.The most of recent of these was made in the last few days, a testament to an ongoing tradition.

The object in question is a stereoscopic card donated to the Fabbrica by journalist Gualtiero Strano, who had in turn acquired it from an American dealer in Savannah, Georgia. Using a photograph taken in 1850, this particular print was created by "The Perfec Stereograph", H.C. White & Co., an American company that, at the height of the stereoscope's success, sold millions of such cards.

This is the first stereoscope to be included in the photo library of the Veneranda Fabbrica's Archives' prestigious collection. This now uncommon technique is based on the creation of images capable of producing the illusion of three dimensionality.Two images that appear identical are placed next to one another on a stiff card and then observed through a special double-lens camera which superimposes the two images on one another and makes it possible to see the photo-type in three dimensions.

Quite popular towards the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, the stereoscopic technique became less attractive with the rise of film, a medium that introduced a fourth dimension as well: that of time.