The Archive of the Duomo preserves hundreds of photographs that can be attributed without the shade of a doubt to the Stabilimento fotografico Achille Ferrario in Milan, like these two gelatine prints that present the stamp of “Achille Ferrario Milano” on cardboard.
Achille Ferrario (1848-1914) was a photographer since 1884, as mentioned in the Milan Guide published by Bernardon. He was later assisted by his son Eugenio in running his photographic studio that maintained his name. Their firm can be traced up to 1915. The Ferrarios worked intensively in the field of art and architectural photography. They took several photographs of the Certosa of Pavia, of the Sforza Castle, and they carried out an important photographic campaign for the Last Supper during its restoration in 1903- 1908.
Pictures by the Ferrarios that are preserved in the Archive provide extensive detailed evidence of the architectural and decorative interventions performed on the Duomo since the late 19th century.
Given the presence of a large number of prints and negatives, we can say that the pictures were commissioned by the Fabbrica, probably as proposed by Adolfo Zacchi who was Architect of the Fabbrica at the time.
An iconic case to understand the importance of the partnership between the Ferrarios and Zacchi is the series of photographs taken for the project’s design phase and for the implementation of the new falconatura of the façade. Indeed, the Ferrarios document the façade before the intervention, as we see in the picture on the left, the executive drawings, and the plaster scale models of the falconatura both in the construction yard and after they were installed. They also exploit the photomontage technique to effectively simulate the final effect achieved by the new falconatura, as we can see in the picture on the right, which presents the architect’s initials AZ.