Getty Research Institute Acquires Early Photos of Lebanon and Syria

Triumphal Arch and Great Colonnade, Palmyra, Syria. Negative by Louis Vignes, photograph printed by Charles Nègre

Triumphal Arch and Great Colonnade, Palmyra, Syria. Negative by Louis Vignes, photograph printed by Charles Nègre

The Getty Research Institute has acquired 47 albumen prints from 1864 of Lebanon and Syria. The photographs, taken by Louis Vignes, a French Naval officer, and printed by photographer Charles Nègre, document Beirut and the ancient ruins of Palmyra, including structures that have been destroyed by ISIS. Photographs showing the Temple Baalshamin and the Temple of Bel, as well as the Arch of Triumph at the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, are included in the suite of photographs. These have all reportedly been destroyed by ISIS; the Arch of Triumph was reportedly destroyed just yesterday and now survives only in these photographs. “Because of recent events, these rare photographs are now even more valuable as research documents for scholars of the Middle East,” said Thomas W. Gaehtgens, director of the Getty Research Institute.