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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 illuminated 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. In addition, there are photograph collections compiled by noteworthy scholars such as Franklin M. Biebel (mosaics), Arthur Kingsley Porter (architecture and manuscripts), Kurt Weitzmann (manuscripts), and Donald Drew Egbert and Andrew S. Keck (travel photography). Finally, there are two collections that specifically focus on architecture and architectural decoration in Istanbul: Nicholas V. Artamonoff and William Earl Betsch.

Black and White Photograph Collection


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 listed above.

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      Site Books of Contact Prints


      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.

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      Tel: (202) 339-6972
      Fax: (202) 625-0279