Beth Muellner, chair of the German Studies department and professor of Russian Studies at The College of Wooster, will be giving a virtual public lecture at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany on Jan. 19 titled “Sisi’s Photo Albums Revisited.”
Muellner will discuss the collection of portrait photographs, or carte de visites, that the Empress Elisabeth of Austria kept from 1860-1864. “I discuss what it means to keep and collect photographs, as well as the role that photography played in the lives of royal women in general,” Muellner said. The collection, from which the Museum Ludwig holds 18 albums, includes photographs of nobility, celebrities, and artworks. “The practice of keeping carte de visite collections as a seemingly quotidian activity allowed royal consorts to potentially feel more connected to their subjects and gave them a sense of agency, as well as projected ideas about how they might determine their own self-representation,” Muellner explained.
The lecture, which will also be available afterwards on YouTube, is in conjunction with the Museum Ludwig’s exhibition “Sisi in Private: The Empress’s Photo Albums” on view at the museum until Jan. 24.