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Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Ernst Kitzinger papers
    Date (inclusive): 1931-1995
    Collection number: 970036
    Creator: Kitzinger, Ernst, 1912-
    Extent: 33 linear ft. (55 boxes)
    Repository: Getty Research Institute
    Research Library
    Special Collections and Visual Resources
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, CA 90049-1688
    Abstract: Art historian specializing in Byzantine, early Christian, and early medieval art. The papers document Kitzinger's scholarly contribution to the history of late antique, early Christian, Byzantine, and early medieval art. The collection consists of offprints of his published work, research materials, lecture materials, teaching files, and photographs and slides.
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    Language: Collection material in English

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Ernst Kitzinger papers, 1931-1935, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 970036.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated by Ernst Kitzinger, 1997.

    Processing History

    Martha Steele processed and described the Ernst Kitzinger Papers in 1999.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Ernst Kitzinger, an art historian specializing in Byzantine, early Christian, and early medieval art, was born in Munich, Germany on December 27, 1912. He wrote and lectured on a wide variety of artistic media, but is perhaps best known for his scholarship on Byzantine mosaics. The diverse research topics that make up his life's work are informed by the premise that form has meaning and that changes in form and style have something to tell us about what is happening in the society of that time.
    Kitzinger pursued his graduate studies at the Universities of Munich and Rome, receiving his Ph.D. from the University on Munich in 1934. Upon completing his degree, he resided briefly in Rome, and then in London from 1935 to 1940, where he was an Assistant at the British Museum.
    Kitzinger spent the greater part of his career at Dumbarton Oaks, in Washington, D.C., from 1941 to 1966, where he was, successively, a Junior Fellow and Fellow (1941-1946), Assistant Professor of Byzantine Art and Archeology (1946-1951), Associate Professor (1951-1956), Professor (1956-1967), and Director of Studies (1955-1966). During his tenure as Director of Studies, field work projects were developed and supported, the publications program became firmly established, Dumbarton Oaks Papersbecame an annual journal, and the library holdings increased substantially.
    Kitzinger then left Dumbarton Oaks to teach courses and seminars at Harvard University as the Arthur Kingsley Porter University Professor (1967-79). In 1979, he became the Emeritus Arthur Kingsley Porter University Professor. In addition, Kitzinger was a Fulbright Scholar in Sicily (1950-1951); a Guggenheim Fellow in Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia and Turkey (1953-1954); a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University (1966-1967, 1980, and 1982); Slade Professor of fine art at the University of Cambridge (1974-1975); and Visiting Distinguished Professor, University of Washington, Seattle (1989).

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Ernst Kitzinger archive is comprised of Kitzinger's research materials, created and collected over the course of his career, from 1932 to 1995. The collection documents the wide range of Kitzinger's contributions to scholarship of the history of late antique, early Christian, Byzantine, and early medieval art via the diverse media of his published articles, unpublished lectures, teaching notes, topical research files, and photographs, slides and negatives. The titles and sequential organization of the series are that of Dr. Kitzinger, with the following exceptions: series VIII and IX originally followed series II; and descriptive information is appended to the titles of series II, VIII and IX. Correspondence is left in its original, reverse, chronological order.
    The writings series begins with the 1934 typescript of Kitzinger's dissertation (generally known only through the revised and abridged version published in 1936, also in the archive), and proceeds with "work copies" of offprints. Throughout his career, Kitzinger updated his offprints with marginalia and slips of paper noting recent bibliography and further observations, correspondence and reviews. As such, these materials document Kitzinger's continuing thoughts on, and response to, the issues addressed in his published work.
    Kitzinger was a very active lecturer from the mid 1950s through the 1980s. The materials for more than 65 lecture topics complement, but do not expressly reiterate, his published work. As such, the lecture typescripts document vast unpublished areas of Kitzinger's thought.
    Kitzinger taught courses and seminars at Harvard University mostly between 1967 and 1979. The topics include the courses on Early Christian and Byzantine Art and seminars on Early Christian, Anglo-Saxon, and Carolingian art, and mosaics and ivories. Kitzinger's course and seminar files record the topics covered for each class meeting, reading assignments, and seminar participants.
    The unpublished research materials include lecture transcripts, extensive research files and abandoned articles. The topical and geographical organization of the research files (on floor mosaics, frieze sarcophagi, silver, and a group of early Christian marbles at the Cleveland Museum of Art) reveal Kitzinger's particular interests and lines of thoughts in these areas.
    Other papers document Kitzinger's professional activities as a reader and reviewer for journals; as a colleague nominating others for membership in professional societies; as a respondent to research questions; as a participant in various proposed publication projects; and as an author of obituaries honoring and characterizing the contributions of his colleagues.
    Photographs, slides and negatives generally correspond to the content of the offprints, lectures, and research files, with sections on mosaic, sculpture, panel painting, manuscripts, and so-called minor arts including ivories, silver, ceramics, coins, glass, glyptic, textiles, silver and other metal works.
    Related archival collections include:
    Title: Interviews with art historians
    , at the Getty Research Library, Special Collections, accession no. 940109 (includes the tapes and transcript of
    Title: Style and its meaning in early medieval art
    , a series of interviews with Kitzinger conducted in 1995 by Richard Caéndida Smith, with a curriculum vitae and partial 5 p. list of publications; and
    Title: Papers of Ernst Kitzinger
    , 1942-1967 (inclusive), at Harvard University Archives; and
    Title: Records of Dumbarton Oaks, 1941-
    , at Harvard University Archives.


    Indexing Terms


    Cleveland Museum of Art
    Chiesa della Martorana (Palermo, Italy)
    Duomo di Monreale
    Panayia Kanakaria (Church : Lythrankomi, Cyprus)
    Santa Maria Antiqua (Church: Rome, Italy)
    Dura-Europos (Extinct city)
    Art, Ancient
    Art, Byzantine
    Art, Coptic
    Art, Early Christian
    Art, Medieval
    Art, Roman
    Art--Study and teaching
    Icons, Byzantine
    Mosaics, Byzantine
    Mosaics, Early Christian
    Mural painting and decoration--Italy--Rome
    Sculpture, Byzantine
    Silverwork, Ancient
    Silverwork, Byzantine


    Photographs, Original
    Black and white photographs
    Color slides
    Color transparencies


    Battiscombe, C. F.
    Belting, Hans
    Frolow, A.
    Gombrich, E. H.(Ernst Hans),1909-
    Grierson, Philip
    Koehler, Wilhelm Reinhold Walter,1884-1959
    Panofsky, Erwin,1892-1968
    Schapiro, Meyer,1904-
    Weitzmann, Kurt,1904-
    Wixom, William D.
    Dumbarton Oaks