This dramatic rock formation alongside the small port of La Ciotat on the Côte d’Azure was one of several landscapes at the end of a photographic album tracing the railroad line from Lyon to Marseilles and along the Mediterranean coast. At a time when some worried that the expanding railroad network was homogenizing regional cultures and spoiling the landscape, Baldus’s album—commissioned by the railroad company—blended images of viaducts, tunnels, and stations with Gothic cathedrals, Roman ruins, and the natural landscape, linking Second Empire engineers with the great builders of the past and celebrating newly accessible features of the natural world.

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Édouard Baldus, French, 1813–1889
La Ciotat. Bec de l'Aigle.
"The Eagle's Beak," La Ciotat
c. 1860
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Image: 13 1/8 × 16 15/16 in. (33.3 × 43 cm) Sheet: 13 1/8 × 16 15/16 in. (33.3 × 43 cm) Mount: 18 1/16 × 23 13/16 in. (45.9 × 60.5 cm)
Credit Line

Gift of Manfred Heiting, the Manfred Heiting Collection

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number

[Léon Herschtritt, Paris]; purchased by Manfred Heiting, April 23, 1992; given to MFAH, 2004.