Posted on 06/04/2013

Photo taken on October 28, 2010

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Maros Vásárhely
Neumarkt am Mieresch
early photography
carte de visite
albumen print
Ciehulski Péter

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Portrait of Szolga Vilma: verso

Portrait of Szolga Vilma: verso
albumen print on cardboard, carte de visite
Ciehulski Péter, Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureș / Neumarkt am Mieresch), ca. 1875-1885
entry number: cdv.2010.05

The portrait of a woman identified as Szolga Vilma on the verso of the photograph. Her figure emanates correctness and stability - a pose enforced by the presence of the book she is holding in a gesture that hesitates between simulating a momentary interruption from reading and openly presenting it to the viewer. She might be a teacher or just a good Christian lady accompanied by her prayer book. Given the manner in which the book is shown, it is possible that a 1880s Transylvanian viewer was supposed to recognize it easily.

The author of the inscription had some doubts about the exact identity of the woman but not with her family name. Maybe it was a contemporary not well acquainted with her and overwhelmed by the complexity of his album, as it is well known that the practice of assembling albums of relatives` and friends` cartes de visite reached monstrous proportions in the 1860s-80s - or just a hesitant but well-intentioned successor.


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