Photography as a Document and Documentation of Cultural Heritage. Securing, recording, and researching the analog photo collection of the Institute of Art History Bonn

The Bonn Art History Institute – one of the oldest in the German-speaking world – houses an extensive, albeit hitherto little-noticed collection of historical photographs, whose origins can be traced back to the institute's beginnings in the 19th century. We currently estimate the holdings at around 100,000 photoprints and book illustrations, each mounted on sheets of cardboard. The photographs document the historical condition of monuments and works of art from all over Europe, with an emphasis on Italy, France, Belgium, and Germany. However, these photographs are not only important for their documentary quality, but they are also valuable testimonies of photographic history. Our collection not only contains numerous prints from renowned studios that were extremely important for the development of photographic art reproduction (such as Alinari, Brogi or Anderson), but also has particularly rare examples from the early days of photography. Particularly valuable for the history of our academic subject are the handwritten annotations with which the cardboard sheets are provided, and which allow remarkable conclusions to be drawn about the state of knowledge and research interests. To this day, this collection has survived in its original order by topography and genre in 466 drawers. What has been lost, however, is the knowledge of the history of the holdings, the provenances, as well as the concrete composition of the collection. Thus, no inventory has survived that gives us precise information about the scope, and only a few acquisitions can be traced through sources.

The main aim of the project is an inventory and partial digitization of this historical collection, as well as the re-evaluation and research of the holdings. In the sense of the concept of research-based learning, the exploration of the photographic holdings is to take place primarily together with students within the framework of academic course.

Leitung: Dr. Hilja Droste, Dr. Gernot Mayer
Beteiligte: Ben Bartz, Rafaela Bermeo Tosi, B.A., Jasmin Roth B.A., Jil Schuch 
Laufzeit: seit April 2023
Finanzierung: TRA Present Pasts

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© KHI, Bonn
Funded as part of the Excellence Strategy of the federal and state governments © TRA5
Objekt des Monats
Objekt des Monats Dezember

Die Fotografie einer Christmette im Kölner Dom präsentiert von Jasmin Roth

Objekt des Monats November

Eine unheimlich faszinierende Fotografie nach Desiré-Maurice Ferrary präsentiert von Gernot Mayer

Objekt des Monats September

Eine Fotografie von Michelangelos Tondo Doni präsentiert von Axel Schwalm

Objekt des Monats August

Eine Ansicht von Rom präsentiert von Georg Satzinger

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© KHI, Bonn

"Kunstschutz" - Fotografie zwischen Propaganda und Denkmalpflege.
Eine Ausstellung aus der Fotosammlung des KHI


Avatar Droste

Dr. Hilja Droste

+49 228 73-7579

Avatar Mayer

Dr. Gernot Mayer

+49 228 73-5929

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