Chiara's Pics

From ancient temples to dynamic sculptures, here are Cataloguer Chiara's favourites from the archive​


What is your role at Bridgeman?

I work in the cataloguing department from the Italian office assisting my manager with the inbound content from our suppliers. I am in charge of ingesting the big batches of images we receive from museums and collections and I challenge my IT skills (and patience) everyday ‘playing’ with excel formulas to tidy up and optimise the metadata according to our cataloguing requirements. I also deal with the content from Italian suppliers whose captions sometimes need to be translated into English.


What do you love most about the job?

I have always dreamt of working in a library, and images have the same power of telling stories and mark our life as books have. Bridgeman is just the perfect place to work for when you are a ‘book/image worm’.

One of the aspects of my job I love most is the opportunity to see high quality images of works of art from all around the world and enjoy their shapes, colours, paint strokes in detail. It feels like looking at paintings from the other side of the security barriers, something that not many people are allowed to do.

Bridgeman is truly an amazing place to work, with so much knowledge and expertise around you: every day is an opportunity to learn something new.  

What misconceptions do clients most commonly have about the archive?

Sometimes I find it frustrating that not many people realise how much work goes into each single image we have in the archive. We do a great deal of research to provide each image with reliable and thorough captions. Assets are then accurately keyworded to make sure that researchers and clients can always find what they are looking for quickly. With more than 2 million images (and counting) I believe that cataloguing is everyday more challenging and important. 



Chiara Corleoni





Minos, illustration to the 'Divine Comedy' by Dante Alighieri, 1824-27 (pen & ink with w/c over pencil and chalk), William Blake (1757-1827) / National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia 


William Blake -  Minos, illustration to the 'Divine Comedy' by Dante Alighieri, 1824-27 

Blake’s watercolours and drawings based on the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri show how brilliantly literature and art can combine to create a whole new narrative. Despite the centuries that separate the artists and their different backgrounds, Blake’s own visionary approach perfectly matches the sublime and terrible atmospheres that Dante described in his poem.

This picture brings back memories of all the time I spent reading commentaries of the Divine Comedy trying to decipher Dante’s verses: preparing for University exams was an utterly hellish experience…

…Abandon all hope, ye who enter here…


Alexander Rodchenko - Poster for Leningrad State Publishers, 1925 

This poster reminds me of the first exhibition I saw in London back in 2009. I love Rodchenko’s art and how he mixed painting, photography, graphic design and typography in such a powerful and revolutionary way. Looking at the advertisement for the Leningrad branch of the State publishing house I can almost hear the energetic and positive shout “BOOKS” of Lilya Brik! 


Poster for Leningrad State Publishers, 1925 (colour litho), Alexander Rodchenko (1891-1956) / Private Collection / Calmann & King Ltd



The Rape of Proserpina, 1621-22, detail (marble), Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) / Galleria Borghese, Rome, Italy / De Agostini Picture Library / G. Dagli Orti 






Gian Lorenzo Bernini - The Rape of Proserpina, 1621-22

This is probably one of the most photographed sculptures by Bernini and, even if I haven’t seen it in the flesh yet, I feel I know every single detail of it. The contrast between the dynamism of the figures and the delicate finish of the marble will never cease to amaze me. I can’t wait to visit Galleria Borghese in Rome and admire it in its full splendour.




National Geographic Society - The ancient Mingun Temple, Mingun, Mandalay, Myanmar  

With all its travel photography, the Bridgeman archive has also become a source of inspiration for my holidays. Last year I went to Nepal after having catalogued a batch of images of the Kathmandu Valley and now Myanmar is on top of my list. Looking at the beauty in this picture makes the recent news even more painful.






The ancient Mingun Temple, Mingun, Mandalay, Myanmar (photo) / Paul Chesley / National Geographic Creative


Baby care: Pram provided with a radio, antenna and loudspeaker to keep the baby in his pram while the mum can read untroubled, USA, 1921 (b/w photo), Unknown photographer (20th century) / Photo © Spaarnestad






Unknown photographer - Baby care: Pram provided with radio, antenna and loudspeaker to keep the baby in his pram while the mum can read untroubled, USA, 1921

Wouldn’t this be the perfect present for a baby shower? I bet every mum would love to have such a relaxed reading while her new born is enjoying the latest hit on the radio. Never mind health and safety!

Having grown up with a crazy engineer as a brother, I have always been fascinated by inventions and people with ‘brilliant’ ideas…this looks just like something my brother could have built!








Seeing London: London Types 1929 (HD) - policemen, postmen, street hawkers, bootblacks. Working people of London. 

Since I moved back to Italy I have found myself watching old footage of London more and more often. I suppose it is because I love to see how, after almost a century, the character of the city and its characters haven’t changed at all…or maybe it is just because I miss London so much! 


Seeing London: London Types 1929 (HD) - policemen, postmen, street hawkers, bootblacks. Working people of London. / London Metropolitan Archives, City of London



Back to top