Presentation of the ICS Historic Archive (Estelle Shohet Brettman Collections)
The ICS Historic Archive is a collection of approximately 4,000 digitized images of photographs, pictures, and drawings assembled by American art historian Estelle Shohet Brettman for Vaults of Memory, an exhibit and monograph on iconography in the catacombs of Rome. They originate from various archives and museums, or were taken in situ by Mrs. Brettman herself or by photographers she commissioned. Upon Mrs. Brettman's death in 1991, the collection was entrusted to the International Catacomb Society, which created an online database of the Brettman collection in 2000. In 2016, the collection was moved onto the present media platform and re-sorted by topographical criteria and other characteristics by ICS Executive Director Jessica Dello Russo. It is made available to members of the ICS and their guests principally as a source of historic and documentary data for the condition of select Mediterranean archaeological sites in the twentieth century. Many of the sites or objects illustrated here have been restored since that time, resulting in new documentation and publications.Created for a specific project on iconography, the ICS Historic Archive focuses on the visual cultures of the Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman eras of antiquity and thus provides a selection of images that reflect certain themes or motifs recurrent in Greco-Roman artistic production, rather than a full documentation of individual sites. Yet as a unique sampling of artifacts from these remote periods, it has the potential to generate fresh insights and ideas, and drive research forward in joint dialogue with the past.