Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte

The Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (ZI) in Munich is the only independent art historical research institute in Germany. As a research institution with both national and international orientation and networks, the Zentralinstitut is a locus of art historical research. With its rich program of scholarly events open to the public the ZI understands its role as a forum for scholarly exchange and discussion of current methodological issues and topics in art history.

The ZI has one of the largest and most significant art historical libraries worldwide, counting over 560,000 volumes and around 1,100 current periodical subscriptions. These join the image holdings of its photographic archive (c. 900,000 items) as well as numerous international online resources and databases to make the ZI a major service institution offering outstanding opportunities for art historical research.

Since 1979 the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte has stood under the sole sponsorship of the Free State of Bavaria and is assigned to the Bavarian State Ministry for Education, Culture, Science and Art.

Research at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte is thematically grouped in the fields object and materiality, art history as knowledge and academic discipline, and art in historical-political space and global context. In addition, the Study Centre on Modern Art / Duke Franz of Bavaria Library offers a particularly well-equipped research platform for studies regarding art and art history of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The ZI is decidedly independent of any national framework or research agenda. This open research horizon is ideally suited for comprehensive contemporary research issues in the age of post- and transnational networking. The position and function of a research institution with both national and international orientation particularly require identification of overarching groups of related topics and organizing cooperative work on these projects.

The Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, founded in 1946, is located in the Munich “Kunstareal” and thus in direct proximity to the nearby museums, universities and academies, making the institute a privileged venue for art historical research and scholarship.