Byzantine Photograph Collections
The Byzantine Photograph Collections include approximately 80,000 black and white print photographs, negatives, slides, and color transparencies of Byzantine art, architecture, and archaeology from the fourth through the fifteenth century. The emphasis is on materials from Byzantium and neighboring cultures: Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Slovenia, Romania, Russia, Armenia, and Georgia, as well as Greece, Syria, Israel, and Egypt. There is also a limited number of Russian, Crusader, and post-Byzantine works. You may browse the general collections either by Medium or Site.
In addition to the photographs in the general collections, ICFA is the repository for approximately 100,000 negatives, slides, and color transparencies, documenting the fieldwork of Dumbarton Oaks, the Byzantine Institute, and a number of scholars, including Margaret Alexander, Richard Anderson, Cyril Mango, Thomas Mathews, Ihor Ševčenko, and Robert Van Nice. Also, the Byzantine Institute produced several films between 1930 and the 1950s, documenting fieldwork at monuments such as Hagia Sophia and Kariye Camii in Istanbul and St. Anthony's Monastery in Egypt.
There are also a number of special collections that focus on specific media within Byzantine art, including textiles, silver, and manuscripts. There is also a general census of Byzantine art in private and museum collections throughout North America, which was begun under the auspices of Mildred and Robert Bliss, the founders of Dumbarton Oaks. Finally, there are photograph collections compiled by noteworthy scholars such as Franklin M. Biebel (mosaics), Arthur Kingsley Porter (architecture and manuscripts), and Kurt Weitzmann (manuscripts).
The Black and White Photograph Collection is arranged by medium, then by country, and city. Monuments are arranged by country, then city, and site. Portable arts are organized by medium, then country, and museum collection. The collection comprises photographs donated by scholars or acquired from various museums.
Click on a section below to consult the relevant finding aid. Researchers interested in textiles, silver, mosaics, and manuscripts should also consult the special collections.
- Illuminated manuscripts
- Minor media
- Mosaic icon
- Mosaic pavement
- Panel painting
- Wall painting
The Site Books consist of black and white photographs in binders arranged by site. The photographs are primarily contact prints made from negatives produced through the fieldwork of Dumbarton Oaks and the Byzantine Institute. The contact prints serve as the visual reference to the negative collection.
- Bulgaria, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Turkey (excluding Istanbul), UK, and former Yugoslavia
The collection, begun in 1936 by Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss to provide visual and documentary reference material for the study of objects in their art collection, contains over 11,000 mounted black-and-white photographic prints filed by medium, stylistic and chronological characteristics, and region of origin. The collection was updated in the 1970s and in the mid 1980s. Documentation sheets for each object are located in loose-leaf notebooks and are filed alphabetically by city of present location, collection, and accession number.
The collection consists of 2,500 black-and-white photographs of Byzantine textiles located in museums in the United States and Canada. Brought together in the 1950s, the collection is organized alphabetically by the city and museum, and includes a card file documenting each object.
The Silver Corpus is a collection of photographs, completed in 1986, containing 3,500 black-and-white images of approximately 1,500 Byzantine silver vessels and utensils produced between 300 and 1453 AD. The Corpus includes all known (c. 1985) silver vessels and utensils produced for liturgical and domestic use within the geographical boundaries of the Roman and Byzantine empires. Silver vessels from Western Europe through the seventh century and Veneto-Byzantine silver are included; Sassanian silver, coins, jewelry, armor, icon frames, settings, and ingots are excluded. Photographs are arranged by geographic location and institution. Additional indices include a reference card file for each object in the Corpus arranged by object type and hoard components. This collection can also be found within the Black and White Photograph Collection under metalwork. To consult the finding aid, click here.
This collection consists of over 10,000 black-and-white photographs of manuscript pages and illuminations. Assembled in the 1950s, the photographs are arranged by city, library collection, and then manuscript and folio number.
This collection consists of thirty-one albums assembled by Franklin M. Biebel around 1955. The albums include photographs, plans, and documentary information on floor mosaics from Byzantium and the West.
This collection consists of photographs of Byzantine and Medieval architecture, wall paintings, and sculpture from Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, and Turkey as well as photographs of manuscripts and other objects from Italy and Greece. These albums are arranged by country, city, site, or monument. The original negatives are at the Fogg Museum, Harvard University.
The collections consist of photographs of Greek manuscripts, Latin manuscripts, and ancient book illuminations compiled by Kurt Weitzmann, member of the Princeton University faculty of the Department of Art and Archaeology and the Institute for Advanced Studies (1935–1993). The collection of nearly 17,000 black-and-white photographs duplicates the Kurt Weitzmann Archive at Princeton University. To consult the finding aid, click here.