'Paestum, The Great Temple...', 1841.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A daguerreotype of the ruined Temple of Neptune at Paestum, Italy, by Alexander John Ellis. When rediscovered in the eighteenth century it was called the 'Temple of Neptune' because it was thought to have been dedicated to the sea god Poseidon. Actually, the temple was dedicated to the goddess Hera. The largest of the three temples at Paestum it is one of the best preserved of all Greek temples, dating from the early or mid fifth century BC. The ruins were rediscovered in the 1750s, chiefly by Johann Joachim Winckelmann. The ruins, together with those at Herculaneum and Pompeii, sparked an interest in Classical art and architecture during the eighteenth century. The full title of the daguerreotype is 'Paestum, The Great Temple, called also the Temple of Neptune, from the South West'. Ellis toured Italy in 1841, taking daguerreotype panoramas, landscapes and architectural views. In Rome, he worked with Achille Morelli and Lorenzo Suscipi, acquiring 45 daguerreotypes from them. In tota