Florence - Museo Stibbert

The Eye of Science: Giorgio Roster and Odoardo Beccari, Explorers of Place and Image

Scientific photography enjoyed an extraordinary period of development in Florence during the second half of the nineteenth century thanks to the presence of leading scientists such as Paolo Mantegazza (1831-1910), Odoardo Beccari (1843-1920), and Giorgio Roster (1859-1932), who collaborated with professional photographers such as Carlo Brogi (1850-1925) and Vittorio Alinari (1859-1932) to found the Italian Photography Society in 1889.

Giorgio Roster was an outstanding exemplar of this dynamic and fertile cultural scene, contributing decisively to the progress of scientific photography internationally, in particular with regard to microphotography.

Botanist and naturalist Odoardo Beccari was a prominent figure in the era of the great explorations. Fascinated by lands still virtually unknown to the West, he conducted scientific expeditions in Malaysia, Oceania, and the Horn of Africa. His botanical research into the family of Palms, closely followed by the international scientific community, led to an impressive series of photographic plates using a camera designed by Beccari himself.