Carte de Vista Signed by Cardinal Antonelli, 1860
Carte de Vista Signed Photo of Cardinal Deacon Antonelli
Carte de Vista Signed Photo of Cardinal Deacon Antonelli: Back of Carte

Giacomo Antonelli was an Italian cardinal deacon who was the papal Secretary of State from 1848 until his death in 1876. He played a key role in Italian politics, resited the unification of Italy and affected Roman Catholic interests in European affairs. He was often called the Italian Richelieu.

The CDV shown here was a popular type of early photography and this card is from 1860

The carte de viste, or CDV, was a type of small photograph which was patented in Paris, France by photographer André Adolphe Eugène Disdéri in 1854, although first used by Louis Dodero. It was usually made of an albumen print, which was a thin paper photograph mounted on a thicker paper card. They are of a specific size, usually about 2 1/2 inches. In 1854, Disdéri had also patented a method of taking eight separate negatives on a single plate, which reduced production costs. The Carte de Viste was slow to gain widespead use until 1859, when Disdéri published Emperor Napoleon III’s photos in this format.This made the format an overnight success, and the new invention was so popular it was known as cardomania and eventually spread throughout the world.

Each photograph was the size of a visiting card, and such photograph cards became enormously popular and were traded among friends and visitors. The immense popularity of these card photographs led to the publication and collection of photographs of prominent persons. Cardomania spread throughout Europe and then quickly to America. Albums for the collection and display of cards became a common fixture in Victorian parlors.