The Age of Bronze

Eugène Druet (1867 -1916)

Circa 1898

Gelatin-silver print

H. 39.6 cm ; W. 29.9 cm


Dining-room at the Villa des Brillants, Meudon.

Serendipity can sometimes play a major role in artistic creation. Such was the case in this photograph of The Age of Bronze , taken by Eugène Druet in 1898.


One day, the photographer came across an effect now known as “solarization”. If a chlorobromide paper is exposed to the light while it is being developed in the darkroom (which may happen when the door is inadvertently opened), parts of the image will come out negative.As a result of this effect, The Age of Bronze  seems to be weightless here. Druet, encouraged by Rodin, adopted and attempted to master the process by producing a dozen or so variations, each one with a different degree of solarization.


In the 20th century, solarization would be used as a technique and a means of photographic expression by artists such as Man Ray and Maurice Tabard.

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