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Between and Mortarboard

UMMA Object Specific Fields

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Grotte de la Nativité—Cave of the Nativity

Accession Number

Grotte de la Nativité—Cave of the Nativity

Felix Bonfils

Artist Nationality
French (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
circa 1867-1885

Medium & Support
albumen print on paper

10 15/16 in x 14 in (27.78 cm x 35.56 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Margaret and Howard Bond

Subject matter
This photograph provides a frontal view of a hearth-like space surrounded by draping fabrics of different patterns and textures. Hanging lamps and small framed paintings,likely of biblical subjects, further adorn the intimate space. The “Cave of the Nativity” indeed feels underground, an effect reinforced by the staircase that leads up and out of the image along the left-hand side. A bright light from behind the camera illuminates the scene and creates shadows along the perimeter of the photograph. This image is one of hundreds of photographs made throughout Bonfils' career which purport to document various landscapes, cityscapes, and people of the eastern Mediterranean.

Physical Description
Frontal view of an altar space surrounded by draped fabrics with different patterns and materials. A staircase ascends out of the frame on the left-hand side of the image.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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altars (religious fixtures)
cave architecture
churches (buildings)
hanging lamps
historic structures
travel photography

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display