The series "Kunstdenkmäler von Bayern" (Bavarian monuments of art) represents the first comprehensive inventory of monuments in Bavaria. The 147 volumes were produced in two series between 1895 and 1975, with the Bavarian State Agency for the Preservation of Historical Monuments (Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege) and its predecessor as editor. Numerous photographs and plans that were made or drawn up during the work on the series remained unpublished. They form the basis of the photograph collection of the State Agency for the Preservation of Historical Monuments.
In June 1887 the royal Bavarian State Ministry of the Interior for Church and School Matters (Königlich Bayerisches Staatsministerium des Innern für Kirchen- und Schulangelegenheiten) had ordered an inventory of the art monuments of Bavaria to be drawn up. The goal was to provide a "source work oriented toward the tangible aspect, not the documentary, literary aspect" ("Quellenwerk nach der gegenständlichen, nicht nach der urkundlich litterarischen Seite hin"). Accordingly, drawings with measurements, plans and photographs complemented the traditional, written source material as a type of source material of its own.
The large-scale inventory-taking project was organised by the "Generalkonservatorium der Kunstdenkmale und Alterthümer Bayerns" (Conservatory General of the Monuments of Art and Antiquities of Bavaria), that was accommodated in the same building as the Bavarian National Museum and was governed by the same directorate until 1908. In this year the Conservatory General became an independent agency. Nine years later it was renamed "Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege" (Bavarian State Agency for the Preservation of Historical Monuments).
The editors went on uncountable travels and mostly spent many days in locations yielding the material and drawing up lists of photographs and orders for plans and measurements, which were provided partly by external manpower, but also frequently by the civil servants of the Conservatory General themselves. Between 1895 and 1972 112 volumes of the so-called "old series" were produced, covering the eight districts of Bavaria (until 1942 also nine volumes were issued on the Palatinate).
After a brief, massive intensification in the year 1935, the work on the inventories was discontinued at the start of the Second World War, primarily for lack of personnel. After the war these in-depth "large inventories" ("Großinventare") were increasingly complemented by so-called "brief inventories" ("Kurzinvantare"), which were intended to cover the towns and districts missing so far. Of these "quicker" inventories 35 volumes were produced between 1958 and 1975.
During the photograph campaigns more photographs were taken than could be printed. The remaining significant photographs of good quality were also incorporated in the image archive of the Bavarian State Agency for the Preservation of Historical Monuments (Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege) and are still catalogued and available today. Likewise the drawings with measurements, floor plans and layouts have been preserved in the plan archive of the agency. The first large collection of images compiled within the framework of the inventory forms the core collection of the image archive of the Bavarian State Agency for the Preservation of Historical Monuments. It is still maintained today and is handled in a highly responsible manner as the "visual memory of Bavaria" by the conservation specialists in charge.
>> This collection is part pf the holdings of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library) and the Landesamt für Digitalisierung, Breitband und Vermessung (Agency for Digitisation, High-Speed Internet and Surveying).