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Landscapes of Modernity. Lucio del Valle (1815-1874)

Centre Cultural La Nau, Sala Estudi General

Opening hours: From Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 to 14h and from 16 to 20h. Sundays and bank holidays from 10 to 14 hours
  Free admission


 Convicts compacting the land. Road from Madrid to Valencia by Cabrillas. Daguerreotype image. Around 1850. Lucio del Valle Archive. Madrid



Organised by
Cátedra Demetrio Ribes
Conselleria d'Habitatges, Obres Públiques i Vertebració del Territori
Archivo Lucio del Valle
Vicerectorat de Cultura i Igualtat de la Universitat de València
Colegio de Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos de Madrid
Colegio de Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos de Valencia
ETS de Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos de la Universidad Politécnica de Valencia
Fundación Juanelo Turriano
Instituto del Patrimonio Cultural de España
Fundació General de la Universitat de València
Ajuntament de València
Inmaculada Aguilar
César Díaz-Aguado


In 2 March 1819 Lucio del Valle y Arana was born in Madrid. One of the main motives of this exhibition is commemorating the bicentenary of his birth, recalling him, his job and his work. Lucio del Valle, whose thought and work spread through the central decades of the 19th Century, constitutes a singular example of civil engineering emergence in the Elizabethan period, of construction in modern Spain, and of the consolidation of a profession. His first destiny was Valencia, between 1840 and 1851;thus, he dedicated a third part of his professional life to the Valencian Community.
Martínez Sánchez. Valencian Port Quarry. Lucio del Valle Archive. Madrid



The display presented can be defined as a photographic exhibition, as a great part of the exposure resources is composed of original photographies from the period, through which we can participate in a journey, not only through Lucio del Valle’s main works but also the around singular works created in Spain during these decades. The history of photography starts off in 1839 and became the best medium to show scientific development throughout the 19th Century. Photographers, governmental institutions and enterprises worshiped progress and Modernity with unpublished photographies, singular photo albums and exigent reports, carried out on the event of motorway, train and hydraulic work construction.
The relationship of engineer Lucio del Valle with photography is an intimate one, as he was able to recognise on this new invention a valid and faithful medium for the dissemination and study of his profession. His works, both on private or institutional request, were an objective for some of the best photographers back then (Laurent, Clifford, Martínez Sánchez) It’s the dialogue between the captured image and the engineer. The result of this dialogue is the rich and valuable photographic fund of the Lucio del Valle Archive; archive which has come to us along generations and which guards an important collection of photographs from that period. New up until now, the exhibition presents a careful and interesting selection of original works from the period fro the first time.
Martínez Sánchez. Cabriel’s Bridge. Lucio del Valle Archive. Madrid Martínez Sánchez. La Horadada Bridge. Lucio del Valle Archive. Madrid



The photographic exhibition has two well-defined sections: the testimonies of his most important works, and the singular photographic views of the Public Engineering Works presented at the Universal Exhibition of Paris back in 1867.
Lucio del Valle turned to photography at many points of his professional trajectory. From his work la carretera de las Cabrillas we count with a special collection of scenic daguerreotypes (considered as the first photographic images taken of a Spanish public work), and views of the motorway from Madrid to Valencia by the Cabrillas and the Cabriel river- taken by photographer José Martínez Sánchez. For the works of the Canal de Isabel II and the reform of the Puerta del Sol, he requested a photographic testimony of their different construction stages to the photographer Charles Clifford. 
Panoramic of La Puerta del Sol before the reform. Charles Clifford, photographer. 1857. Lucio del Valle Archive. Madrid


The combination of photographic views presented at the Universal Exhibition of 1867 became a medium which provided a more complete vision of the Spanish picture. A selection which reflects the view of Lucio del Valle regarding modernity and progress in Spain with its Development policies. They represent the eyes of the technique. Lucio del Valle’s knowledge on the topic became fundamental for the naming of a President for the engineers commission who was in charge of collecting models, maps and views of these works for the exhibition in Paris, personally implicated in the development of the project. An unpublished display which has been ceded by the Lucio del Valle Archive exclusively for this exhibition.
The exhibition is aimed at highlighting his singular personality, human quality, his tremendous work in the construction of Modern Spain, his view of modernity as one of the greatest engineers and protagonists in our history of Engineering.
Portrait of Lucio del Valle. Lucio del Valle Archive. Madrid