"Prince Albert I, pioneer of photography and cinema"

31 December 2022

Monaco - L'Engelin, 83-85, Boulevard du Jardin exotique

Promoted by

Audiovisual Institute of Monaco

Albert I of Monaco, pioneer of image and sound.

A scholarly and humanist sovereign, Prince Albert I (1848–1922), in addition to his passion for science, was interested in all of the innovative techniques of his era.

During his 28 oceanographic expeditions and all of his voyages, both on land and at sea, alone or together with Jules Richard, Louis Tinayre and Henry Bourée, his loyal travelling companions, the Prince was a diligent photographer and also tried his hand at cinema and sound recording. The images and films – or “cinématos” to use Prince Albert’s own delightful abbreviation – provide a record of his scientific work, and illustrate his lectures, writing and the thoughts he committed to his handwritten journal. Guided by intuition and research, the Prince understood the lesson offered by classical philosophers: words and images can help to destroy the artificial boundaries which separate peoples, bringing them together in pursuit of the single goal of progress and shared knowledge.

Thanks to loans from the Archives of the Palace of Monaco and the Oceanographic Institute, the collections of the Audiovisual Institute and the expertise of its teams, this cabinet of curiosities is intended as a reminder of how well Prince Albert I was able to link the unique experience of photography and sound recording with the need for a comprehensive and clear understanding of creatures and things; a photograph or a film can be both a fragment of the world and something which explains it.

In his own way, Albert I was a “go-between”, a prince of today.

Estelle Macé and Vincent Vatrican