The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Venice Arsenal

Venice Arsenal

A topographical cabinet card showing a view of the Venice Arsenal (Italian: Arsenale di Venezia) in the Castello district of Venice, a complex of shipyards and armouries which has been called 'one of the earliest large-scale industrial enterprises in history.'

Construction began around 1104. Spanning an area of 110 acres, or about 15 percent of the whole city, the cluster of buildings became the largest industrial complex in Europe prior to the Industrial Revolution. The majority of the state's naval and commercial trading vessels were produced here, which in turn generated much of the city's economic wealth and power.

Photographed by Carlo Ponti of Venice.

Ponti studied photography in Paris in the 1840s. In 1852, he obtained a license to produce and sell photographs in Venice. He ran the first of the big photographic businesses in the city, producing albums with architectural views of great artistic sensitivity. He was also the inventor of camera lenses suitable for panoramic photography.

Code: 126383
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