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Digitalization of the Archives Fittschen and Malter

v. n. l. n. r.: R. Förtsch, F. Fless, K. Fittschen, G. Fittschen-Badura, D. Boschung

The aim of the DFG supported project is the conservation and scientific documentation of the archives Fittschen and Malter through the internet database ARACHNE.

In the years between 1998 and 2000, the research archive has acquired the two most important negative archives in Classical Archaeology from Gisela Fittschen-Badura and Barbara Malter and thus prevented commercial sales. It consists of ca. 20.000 medium- and large-scale negatives. Both archives are of exceptional worth in Classical Archaeology: by the prominence of the documented sculpture complexes and the high quality of the photographical records that has laid out new standards in the field of Classical Archaeology.

The results are supposed to be made accessible to research through the internet version of ARACHNE worldwide and free of cost, which would mean a quantitative and qualitative improvement to the basics of the research on ancient sculpture. Aside from the worldwide accessibility of the photographs, the monuments are prepared for several freely combinable scientific questions.

It has been comunis opinios in the world of Classical Archaeology for about two decades that the records of Gisela Fittschen-Badura and Barbara Malter have created new standards. A certain standardization has taken place between the two photographers by cooperation with each other and leading researchers: in the choice of perspectives, the elaboration of specific details that are relevant to research as well as the regard to an aesthetic overall image. By this the photos of both archives become outstanding working instruments for questions on dating, the review of replicas as well as other typological and stylistic questions.

Records of ancient portraits are compiled in the Fittschen-Archive. They include the museums of Rome and their depots almost in their entirety. Further, portraits that are otherwise inaccessible, such as the ones in the depots of the National Museum of Naples, were covered. Aside from these and similarly well-known groups, rather unknown ancient sculptures from provincial museums of Italy and other countries of the Mediterranean were recorded. The results of a trip to the United States that aimed to record paintings are also part of the collection.
The Malter-Archive focuses on ideal sculpture of the city of Rome itself. Prof. Dr. E. La Rocca began with a systematic photographic documentation of the antiquities that belong to the Comune di Roma in the eighties. Barbara Malter was responsible for the central groups of the recording campaign.

The Fittschen-Archive is the largest and most exquisite archive that is available to the research on Roman portraits. It is characterized by a broadly oriented collection of basic material. The holdings of museums and depots were recorded systematically, which creates the basis for other research projects and other scientific investigations. Within Classical Archaeology, portrait research has gained a large importance in the eighties, which has lasted until today. Portraits of emperors and their identifiable family members can be considered important dating points for the chronology of sarcophagi and ideal sculpture. Furthermore, it gives insight into self-depiction and self-understanding of ancient elites.

The Malter-Archive is made up of several works of the Comune di Roma, which have been previously documented in specific research projects and exhibitions. Especially pieces that have recently been cleaned for research projects, exhibitions and reopenings, restored or reconstructed were recorded. Sensational projects such as the Greek sculpture of the pediment of the Sosianus temple but also the photographic documentation of the restoration of the central Roman reliefs of the Ara Pacis or the historic reliefs of Hadrian and Marc Aurel are included.

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Reinhard Förtsch

Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)