Studies and Research

The Department of Studies and Research (DER) consists of eight research areas led by as many scientific advisors: the four chronological areas are complemented by four thematic areas. Within these fields of research, a variety of programs aims first and foremost to respond to the two major INHA objectives: to generate resources for art historians, be they curators or teacher-researchers, and to enhance the INHA library collections.

Added to this is the desire to encourage innovative research and to participate in current developments that nourish and invigorate the discipline of art history.

Each research area hosts, for specific periods, residents (recent Ph.D.s or curators), junior faculty and research fellows (PhD students), and/or graduate student instructors (enrolled in master's degrees) entrusted with carrying out the different programs of the INHA. These teams are trained in developing scholarly tools, collaborative work, the promotion of scholarship, as well as the mastery of documentary aspect of research and the digital humanities.

These programs are run in partnership with French or foreign institutions, both universities and museums, thus allowing for encounters between art historians from diverse backgrounds and the implementation of ambitious programs. They further the production of documentary resources available online both to the scholarly community and the general public via the AGORHA website (; the programming of scholarly events and activities accessible to all in the exhibition spaces of the Colbert gallery and outside of the institution; as well as the publication of jointly-edited works or those available online ( Furthermore, each year the department invites nearly thirty other French and foreign researchers from Asia, Africa, South and North America, Eastern and Western Europe for periods ranging from one month to two years.


History of ancient art and archeology

Scientific advisor: Cécile Colonna

Current programs:

  • An unfinished history of ancient art: the drawings by Jean-Baptiste Muret (1795-1866)
  • Index of antiquities’ sales in France during the nineteenth century
  • Diversity of ceramics’ productions in the third millennium (Early Bronze Age) in Northern Mesopotamia
  • Digital Millin: Drawings of Italy from the Antiquity to Neoclassicism

Art history from the fourth to the fifteenth century

Scientific advisor: Isabelle Marchesin

Current programs:

  • Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts and sheets preserved in the French museums
  • Visual ontology of medieval Christianity
  • Perspectives on the medieval object: archeology and systems of representation
  • Imago-Eikon / Images between the East and the West  - current collaborative program with HiCSA and the Labex RESMED (2015-2018)

Art history from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century

Scientific advisor: Claire Bosc-Tiessé

Current program:

  • Remains, evidence, paradigms: places and periods of objects from Africa

Art history from the eighteenth century to the twenty-first century

Scientific Advisor: Elitza Dulguerova

Current programs:

  • 1959-1985 through the prism of the Paris Biennale
  • Audiovisual archives of French contemporary art
  • In partnership with the Institut Français: Opening up French research practices. Mobility, production, translation.

History of global art

Scientific advisor: Zahia Rahmani

Current programs:

  • Observatory: Globalization, Art, the Prospective Collective
  • Global art and cultural periodicals — Part 1: Non-European journals
  • Paradise Lost: colonization of landscapes and the destruction of eco- and anthropo-systems

History and theory of the history of art and heritage

Scientific advisor: Marie-Anne Sarda

Current programs:

  • New dictionary of French architecture from the eleventh century to the sixteenth century
  • Dyes and textiles from 1850 to today

History of collections, history of artistic and cultural institutions, art economics

Scientific advisor: Ariane James-Sarazin

Current programs:

  • Index of Italian paintings in French public collections (RETIF)
  • Index of participants in the French art market under German occupation (1940-1945)
  • The Rothschild collections in French public institutions
  • The collections of Cardinal Fesch: history, inventory, background
  • Catalog of artworks from Jacques Doucet’s collections
  • The Sociétés des Amis des Arts, 1789-1914
  • Collectors, enthusiasts and observers in France
  • Artworks lost from French public collections in wartime
  • Inventory of sixteenth-century French paintings in French public collections
  • Les Envois de Rome, painting and sculpture database, 1803-1914
  • Index of French sculpture (1500-1960) in American public collections
  • Database of Iberian and Latino-American art in French public collections (BAILA)
  • Index of paintings by German primitives in French public collections

History of artistic disciplines and techniques

Scientific advisor: search in progress

Current programs:

  • Parisian life (1863-1914)

The InVisu laboratory

Through partnership with the CNRS, the INHA is hosting the InVisu laboratory (Visual and textual information in art history: new fields, corpora, tools), a mixed service and research unit.

The function of this unit is to contribute to thinking about methodology in art history through experimentation with new information technologies in order to elaborate tools and methods allowing a reasoned mastery of digital techniques for the purpose of developing know-how in history of art and expanding its areas of investigation. The unit leads experiments and develops new forms of processing scholarly data and making them available; it actively monitors the field and offers training in these topics.