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Author: Subject: Mirtschin, Maria: Photographs of Sorbs in the Context of the Exhibition of Saxon Art and Craft Work in Dresden in 1896
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[*] posted on 10-6-2016 at 10:02 PM
Mirtschin, Maria: Photographs of Sorbs in the Context of the Exhibition of Saxon Art and Craft Work in Dresden in 1896


Lětopis Abstract 2015 2: Mirtschin, Maria: Photographs of Sorbs in the Context of the Exhibition of Saxon Art and Craft Work in Dresden in 1896

While photography had already become an established part of everyday experience and practice in the second half of the 19th Century, as a medium for preserving family memories, a paradigmatic shift occurred at the end of the century. It achieved more and more importance as a part of public memory. The key event, which has continued to have an impact in the present day, was the intensive use of photography by the Sorbian Museum at the exhibition of Saxon art and craft work in Dresden in 1896. The everyday world of Sorbian life was able in this context to gain respect and recognition beyond an inner circle of people. The specific nature of Sorbian folk culture was brought home to a wide public through the use of photography. The fact that this sounding-board was created, on which the effect of photographs of Sorbian folk costumes could unfold, could be ascribed to the fact that the middle classes, in their search for a new sense of meaning at the end of the 19th Century, turned to their cultural traditions, which were supposedly to be found in their rural, peasant backgrounds. At the same time the visual quality of this medium broke through the cultural isolation, which had clung to Sorbian culture up until then, as a result of the linguistic exclusivity of its creations. The article also considers the consequences of this development for the ethnic and cultural self-awareness of the Sorbs, as well as for its impact on the outside world.
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