A decorative capital, apparently in fine condition, from the Romanesque church of St. Peter at Toscanella, near Rome. Having made at least one study of the exterior (see lot 22), the photographer has progressed inside to make this detail in what must have been extremely difficult lighting conditions. It seems reasonable that he should mention the interior in his title because even on a sunny day this would have been a difficult exposure to judge. Without the advantage of a light meter one could only rely on experience and a sharp awareness of the subtle and unexpected changes that occur even in interiors as clouds move across the sky.
Girault de Prangey is undeterred by such challenges and uses problems like this dark interior to artistic advantage. He catches the light falling on his chosen subject, exposes his plate for the minimum time necessary to register an image, and simultaneously underexposes any extraneous detail in poorly lit areas so that they merge into darkness. This is not an accident as can be seen by his repeated use of a similar approach in other images including those in the following two lots.