The Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History promotes scientific research in the field of Italian and global history of art and architecture. Established as a private foundation by Henriette Hertz (1846–1913), it was inaugurated in 1913 as a research center of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft. Today, the Bibliotheca Hertziana is part of the Human Sciences Section of the Max Planck Society and is considered one of the world's most renowned research institutes for art history.
Cities and Spaces in Premodernity
The research of the department Michalsky revolves around questions concerning historical concepts of space and their transformation in premodernity. One geographical area of special interest in this context is Southern Italy, specifically Naples and the Mediterranean region.
Art of the Modern Age in a Global Context
The research focus of the department Weddigen lies in the global ramifications of Italian art from the early modern period to modernism, in the expansion of the Bibliotheca Hertziana's research activities toward modern and contemporary art, in questions of materiality and mediality, in the intellectual history of the discipline of art history and in digital art history.
Visualizing Science in Media Revolutions
The research group examines how new developments of communication (like the printing press) and observation (like new optical instruments) in the late middle ages and early modern time period interacted with each other and how they thereby created a new culture of visualizing science.
Decay, Loss, and Conservation in Art History
For centuries, Western artworks have been cared for in the hope of preserving them for as long as possible. Even so, over their lives objects deteriorate and risk being displaced or destroyed. How do communities safeguard endangered objects? And how do art historians study images that are no longer extant? Our group addresses these questions theoretically, historically, and materially, to tackle how the instability of objects shapes the way we handle, think, and write about them.
Scientific Resources: Library
The library holds one of the world's most important collections of research and source literature on the post-antique art and cultural history of Italy and the Mediterranean region, as well as an archive of literary bequests. First created in the late 19th century as the library of Henriette Hertz, founder of the Bibliotheca Hertziana, the collection today ranges from rare incunabula to genuine digital publications.
Scientific Resources: Photographic Collection
With a collection of more than 1,300,000 photographs, negatives, digital images and digitized material, primarily on Italian art and architecture from late antique until the present day, the Photographic Collection is one of the world's leading art historical photo archives. Scientific photographic campaigns using state-of-the-art technology support the research at the institute, anticipate research projects, and define new standards for documentary photography.