Photographic Archive


The Collection of Photography of the Research Institute for Art History was created in the same year (1969) when the predecessor of our Institute, the Research Group for Art History itself was established. As an organizational unit it belonged to the III. Department of Documentation led by Ida Bobrovszky. Archive of Photography within the antecedent institution, the Documentation Center for Art History could be considered as its precursor, run by László Beke, who continued to manage the Center under the aegis of the Research Group for Art History as well. Between 1991 and 2012 the Documentation Center operated within the so called Department of Art and Architecture in Hungary before 1800 led by Géza Galavics.

The Photographic Archive is not a public collection; its primary function is to assist the researchers of our institute. However, it is also accessible for qualified researchers by appointment.

Országház u. 30., félemelet (mezzanine), 1. ajtó (door #1)
Opening hours:
by appointment



The Photographic Archive collects Hungarian or Hungarian-related photography of artworks, artists, buildings that are significant from art historical point of view without any limitation in time and space. The collection came together from the outcomes of research conducted in our Institute and from the publications, end products of the research, for which publication-quality images were taken in a systematic way, satisfying scholarly needs. Those research projects were: research for the reference book entitled History of Art in Hungary (Magyarországi művészet története) conducted from 1970 and the so called Program of Topography of Historical Monuments (Győr-Sopron-Moson, Fejér, Komárom, Veszprém counties).

fottr2Photographic Archive's holdings grew greatly through these projects and gained national significance. The task of organization and inventory of the collection placed great responsibility on the heads of the collection, Ágnes Hetényi, Katalin Gellér, Tünde Wehli. However, without the considerable assistance of archivist Mrs Lászlóné Kovács (1920–1988) the duty could not be fulfilled. In the last two decades the collection functioned as a hosting place for emerging young scholars as well. Numerous established and recognized scholars for now (Béla Zsolt Szakács, Zsombor Jékely, Csilla Markója, Kiss János Jernyei, Orsolya Bubryák, Áron Tóth, Krisztina Havasi, Borbála Gulyás) have started their professional career with an internship in the collection.

The collection contains about eighty thousand items: mostly B/W negatives, seven thousand color slides, paper copies and a few color negatives. The holdings grew mostly by photos taken by the official photographers of our Institute (Endre Domonkos [1925–1991], Béla Szilárdi, Ferenc Kovács, Gábor Hegyi [1952–1992], Béla Hegede, Vilmos Bertalan, György Makky) and in a smaller measure by gifts (bequests) and by purchase.

The earliest prints of the collection that give an overview about the official art of the 50s and 60s are to be mentioned. The prints, gained by Julianna P. Szűcs, from Tibor Gerevich's (1882–1954) bequest concerning the representatives of the so-called Rome school and the Italian art in the interwar period are of high significance. The Photographic Archive also houses prints from Pál Voit's (1909–1988) bequest that were taken for the Topography of Monuments in Heves county. Thanks to Szilvia Maros (1948–1994) the complete holdings of the photography collection of the Corvina Publishing House,by Budapest got into the Photographic Archive in 1992. The art history related prints from the bequests Tibor Gerevich and László Gerevich (1911–1997) were handed over by the Institute for Archeology of Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 2004.

The documents of the diocesan fieldtrips (Eger, Kalocsa, Szeged-Csanád, Vác diocese) made between 1991 and 2000 in the framework of the contract with National Center of Catholic Collections are also noteworthy.

Researchers may consult different indexes (name, site, images according to sites). The digitization of the whole collection, structured by inventory numbers, initiated by Zsuzsanna Bánóczi (1954–2005) in 1996, is still an ongoing process. Consultation of the collection is made possible by using a simple database based on the book of inventories.

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