Foto Reali Archive (National Gallery of Art, Department of Image Collections)

Anguissola, Sofonisba; Two Children of the Attavanti Family (c. 1555); Allen Memorial Art Museum

Nearly 3400 images from the Foto Reali Archive have been contributed to the Artstor Digital Library through the the department of Image Collections (National Gallery of Art, Library). Artstor digitized the full Archive of large format glass plate negatives, which documents Italian art, mostly paintings, from c. 1400-1750.

The Foto Reali firm was active in Florence, Italy between 1910 and 1940, when the Reali brothers surveyed private art collections and dealer inventories throughout the country, often photographing works in situ. Many of the private collections represented in the archive were subsequently dispersed to major museums around the world, as, for example, the Contini–Bonacossi paintings which are a foundation of the Samuel H. Kress Collection. The Foto Reali images and data provide documentation of cleaning and restoration efforts, as well as provenance, providing a key resource for curators, conservators, and scholars of Italian art.

David Alan Brown, the National Gallery of Art's Curator of Italian Paintings, notes that “as many of the works are unknown even to specialists, this vast image collection holds out the promise of exciting discoveries.”

The Department of Image Collections (National Gallery of Art, Library) is a study and research center for images of Western art and architecture with collections of over 15 million photographs, slides, negatives, microforms, and digital images. The department serves the Gallery's staff, members of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, visiting scholars, and qualified researchers.