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Exterior view of the remains of the ancient Benedictine Monastery atop Monte Cassino, which is now in Allied hands, May 1944
Vintage ferrotyped gelatin silver print on paper

Creation Place: Europe
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted gift of Michael Mattis, Judy Hochberg, Fernando Barnuevo and Gloria Ybarra
Accession Number: P2020.6.33

Provenance
Purchased by the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College on August 12, 2020 from Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York.

Commentary
Cassion Monastery Today: Here is an exterior view of what is left of the ancient Benedictine Monastery atop Monte Cassino, which is now in Allied hands. The Monastery, converted into a powerful fortress by the Germans, was shelled and bombed to rubble by Allied artillery and planes in the long campaign to take Cassino, the fortress town barring the road to Rome.

The Battle of Monte Cassino was a costly series of four assaults by the Allies against the Winter Line in Italy held by Axis forces during the Italian Campaign of World War II. The intention was a breakthrough to Rome. Between January 17-18 and May 1943, Monte Cassino and the Gustav defenses were assaulted four times by Allied troops. Following an Allied victory on May 18, the German Senger Line collapsed on May 25. The German defenders were finally driven from their positions, but at a high cost. The capture of Monte Cassino resulted in 55,000 Allied casualties. German losses were far lower, estimated at around 20,000 killed and wounded.

Technique
Ferrotyped prints are processed in such a way that they are shiny. The print has a sensitive surface, usually thinner, because it was put through a press while still wet.

Marks
On recto: Label in bottom right corner, "DISPATCH / PHOTO NEWS / SERVICE / INC. / NEW YORK".

On verso: Typewritten label attached in center, "CASSINO MONASTERY TODAY / Here is an exterior view of what is left of the ancient Benedictine Monastery atop / Monte Cassino, which is now in Allied hands. The Monastery, converted into a powerful / fortress by the Germans, was shelled and bombed to rubble by Allied artillery and planes / in the long campaign to take Cassino, fortress town barring the road to Rome. / Produced Exclusively by Dispatch Photo News Service, New York City". Handwritten in graphite in top left corner, "DP-WW2-033".

Materials
Ferrotyped prints have a sensitive surface, usually shiny and thinner, because they are put through a press while still wet. Ferrotyping makes the surface of the photograph smoother. Light does not scatter as much on a smoother surface, so this increases contrast. That makes ferrotyped images better for press photography.

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