Carol Popp de Szathmary ((November 1, 1812, Cluj - July 3, 1887, Bucharest), was a Romanian painter, graphic artist, lithographer, topographer and photographer, the first art photographer in the Kingdom of Romania and the author of world's first war reportage (Russian-Turkish Crimean War, 1853-1856).
Carol Popp de Szathmary was born in Cluj in 1812, in a family of Romanian boyars (noblemen) from Satu-Mare. He did studies school in Cluj, at the Reformed College. After obtaining the baccalaureate, he tried to enter the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, the capital of the Austrian Empire, but he failed and returned in his hometown, where studied law at the University of Cluj. After several years working as a clerk in the Transylvanian administration, Carol Popp gets hired at the imperial chancellery in Vienna. Passion for painting pushed it to make several trips through Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy. Going back in Transylvania, he painted a series of portraits of dignitaries of Transyvania's Dieta (parliament).
At the invitation of Prince George Bibescu - future ruler of Principality of Wallachia, he reaches Bucharest, where he made his the first daguerreotypes and published the volume "Transylvania in images", made with this technique. In 1847 he was the travel companion of great piano player Franz Liszt in his tournament by the Principality of Moldavia, Bukovina and Russia.
In 1853 made the first war photographs, in the Crimean War, in which he participated as war correspondent. His works, paintings and photos were collected in a new album which was presented at the International Exhibition of Paris of 1855 - then offered personally to the French emperor Napoleon III and Queen Victoria of England. In 1864 he participated to the official delegation of the United Romanian Principalities to Constantinople, where the High Gate recognized Alexandru Ioan Cuza as ruler. He is also created of the United Principalities logo.
He accompanied the new prince of the Romanians, Prince Carol of Hohenzollern, in his travel through the Kingdom of Romania, becoming the painter of the royal court in Bucharest. Besides photo-stamps representing Bucharest those times, and made an album, "Costumes of Romania", a paper that gives personally to the Kings of Belgium and the Netherlands. In a trip to the East (Turkey, Afghanistan, China), Chinese emperor offered him the job of photographer of the imperial court, but he declined the offer, then returned home.
He made a series of art exhibitions in Bucharest, Vienna, Cluj, Târgu-Mureş, and in some towns in Austria. Carol Popp de Szathmary participated in the Rusian-Turkish war, known as the War of Independence as a photographer and war correspondent. He organized meanwhile, a photographic workshop in Cluj, in Biasini Hotel building, located on Avram Iancu street. In 1881, he organized the ceremony of coronation of the first king of Romania, King Carol I and Queen Elizabeth. He died July 3, 1887, and was buried in the Evangelical-Lutheran cemetery in Bucharest.
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