SCALA Archives is the richest and most comprehensive collection of images of art, cinema, history and culture in general. It is regularly updated with new content to license, and it now has over 3,5 million images and as much video/footage and audio clips from prestigious worldwide sources.

SCALA was founded in Florence in 1953 by John Clark and Mario Ronchetti, two art history students with a deep passion for photography. It was the advent of color photography and their idea of professionally shooting works of art and architecture to make high quality image transparencies available to the publishing world and foster the study of art was innovative. This innovative idea was encouraged and supported by Clark’s and Ronchetti’s famous professor and art historian Roberto Longhi.
Soon to high quality color photography Scala also added expert texts by preeminent art historians and published a whole series of artist monographs in various languages. SCALA – Istituto Fotografico Editoriale (SCALA – Editorial and Photographic Institute) was born.

At the time transparencies were not very stable and many methods were adopted to keep track of possible color alterations. Among them the preferred method was the employment of color and grey scales – the Kodak Color Control Patches – which were placed alongside the work to be photographed and formed a standardized chromatic reference guide to evaluate variations of the colors over time. As variations would be detected SCALA’s in house photographic lab technicians would expertly restore and retouch transparencies and film. Scala’s lab is still today considered among the most expert.

The choice of the name for the company is in reference to this systematic adoption of the chromatic color scale.

Fidelity to the Originals

Unlike most of the archives that today purposefully alter their image files by making the colors more vivid and appealing (despite therefore being far from the original works), SCALA remains true to its roots and continues to focus on providing the highest quality files that are set to be the most accurate and the closest to the originals.

It may be this dedication and professionalism, constant through the decades, that has attracted innumerable among the most prestigious museums of the world and led them to choose SCALA to help handle the rights and reproductions of their collections.

Art from All Eras, All Regions and in All Mediums

While Italian and European art represent the original nucleus shot by SCALA’s own photographers, the archive has now grown to contain hundreds of thousands of works from the most prestigious collections worldwide: from the United States, to Russia, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
Prestigious collections such as The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Arizona; and the Museum Thyssen – Bornemisza, Madrid, are among the museums who have selected SCALA as their exclusive worldwide agent.
Exclusive representation in Italy and UK has also been entrusted to Scala by The Réunion des Musées Nationaux- Grand Palais (RMN) which is the photo agency of the French Ministry of Culture. RMN handles all the French national and regional museums – from the most famous ones such as the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou, the Musée d’Orsay, l’Orangerie, & the Musée Picasso to the lesser known but stunning ones such as the Sèvres National Ceramics Museum or the Museum of Textiles of Mulhouse.

Discover more! Search among the main museums in our archive
The Team

Behind SCALA’s images and licenses there are SCALA’s people.

A team of expert and multilingual researchers, sales representatives, rights managers, photographers and photo lab technicians put their knowledge and skills at your disposal to quickly satisfy any request and smoothly move any project from inception to completion.

Discover the Team