Center for Documentation of Byzantine Art History – CDSAB

Director: Antonio Iacobini

The Center for Documentation of Byzantine Art History (CDSAB) was established in 1996 by Fernanda de’ Maffei and Mara Bonfioli. It houses the documentation gathered during the study trips carried out by the Medieval and Byzantine art historians of Sapienza in the Eastern Mediterranean territories. The trips began in the 1960s, in collaboration with the Universities of Padua and Urbino, and with the support of the Italian National Council of Research and Ministry of University and Research. 

The CDSAB is the repository for over 35,000 images of various media (printed photographs, slides and transparencies, negatives, maps, drawings, etc.). The materials are arranged by geographical area: Armenia, Cyprus, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey. While most of the pictures represent religious and military architecture, sculpture, and monumental painting, the Center also hosts collections of photographs of Byzantine metalwork and manuscript illuminations. 

Additional documents on paper related to the research activity, such as maps, notes, travel diaries, and letters, are also included in the CDSAB’s collection, as well as the original photographic tools that the participants to the field trips used.

The Center’s holdings have been enlarged, in the past twenty five years, to include the archives of two renowned Byzantine scholars Géza de Francovich (1902-1996) and Fernanda de’ Maffei (1917-2011), who taught at Sapienza. 

As a whole, the documents of the CDSAB are an outstanding resource for the study of Byzantine art history and for a better understanding of the development of Byzantine art historiography in Italy in the second half of the twentieth century.

Cataloguing and digitization of the holdings of the CDSAB are currently in progress.

A selection of photos of monuments of Turkey and Syria featured in two exhibitions held in Istanbul and in Rome:
Picturing a Lost Empire: An Italian Lens on Byzantine Art in Anatolia, 1960-2000” (Istanbul, ANAMED-Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations, Koç University, Arched Gallery, 01.06.2018/31.12.2018)

La Siria bizantina nella documentazione fotografica dal Novecento ad oggi” (Roma, Sapienza-Museo dell’Arte Classica, 30.11.2018/31.01.2019).

© Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza" - Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma