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Inventory (also inventory , derived from inventory ) is an inventory of objects with regard to certain characteristics . The term is mainly used in art history . In the preservation of monuments, cultural monuments are recorded in monument lists for documentation purposes . This happens on the basis of the monument protection laws of a country and is carried out by the responsible monument offices .

In commercial law , the inventory is called an inventory .

In information technology , one speaks of inventory of software or hardware , see software distribution and license management .

Art history

In art history , which works to a high degree in a comparative way , it is necessary, as a basis for comparison, to compile certain objects , usually cultural monuments , in a descriptive directory by means of an analysis . When this directory is published , it is named inventory in accordance with the legal concept of the inventory of the estate . Many directories that have been published on the basis of an inventory do not have this name, but still belong to this class. They often start with the names of the objects recorded, e.g. B. the inscriptions of ... , the bells of ...

The classification of the objects to be due to certain scientific features and usually under topographical hit limitations.

Special forms of art historical inventories are inventories in monument protection and preservation as well as in museums .

Monument protection and preservation

In the context of monument protection and preservation , monuments are examined and recorded. Since it is practically impossible to even systematically check all existing buildings for their monument value , the recording is based on a topographical selection. The starting point is a historically determined place that z. B. a settlement, a village , a city , but also a group of farms, etc. can be. In the in the way of administrative reforms reoccurrence of mergers of municipalities also come districts into account when they are in certain periods have their own history.

The registration of an object as a monument is the result of the decision about its monument value . To do this, it is necessary to determine all the circumstances that are necessary for the scientific investigation of the value. Since the classification as a monument has very far-reaching consequences , especially for the owner , he can file a lawsuit against it. The judicial review of the classification takes place in Germany on the basis of the monument protection laws of the federal states . The characteristics relevant for this test must therefore be taken into particular account in the inventory.

The inventory of monuments is carried out by the responsible monument authority . It usually precedes the entry of the monument in a list of monuments . In order to ensure that the inventories in the individual countries are carried out according to uniform principles, the Association of State Preservationists in the Federal Republic of Germany has drawn up a framework guideline. In Germany, it is supplemented and further developed by guidelines from the federal states .

There are individual steps in the inventory

  • the name of the monument, which should correspond as closely as possible to the historical name;
  • the compilation of all sources and traditions related to the monument and its creators , in particular also images , these are above all drawings , photographs , plans and maps ;
  • a detailed description of the monument, taking into account in particular its character and the artistic aspects of planning and execution, and placing it in the context of general architecture and art history ;
  • the preparation of illustrations, in particular floor plans , sectional drawings and graphic representations of details ;
  • the justification of the monument value or its rejection;
  • the publication in a monument inventory , mostly under the title art and architectural monuments , in many cases, however, under a different title.

In doing so, monuments that have already been destroyed are usually included, provided their significance justifies this and sufficient sources (plans, images, descriptions, etc.) are available to be able to make a statement.

Fundamental inventory


As early as the 18th century, there were attempts to put monuments in a list . The focus was initially on moving works of art . B. is already requested in a 1756 order of the church council of the margraviate of Baden . However, it was not until the beginning of the 19th century that more intensive efforts were made to carry out inventories, e.g. B. in Baden 1811 for Roman antiquities , 1815 in Prussia by Karl Friedrich Schinkel for general monuments, 1818 in Hesse for architectural monuments. In the context of the descriptions of the administrative districts of the Kingdom of Württemberg , which have been published since 1824, a lot of information on architectural and art monuments was also recorded.

In the second half of the 19th century, the central monument authorities for monument protection and preservation were ordered to take a systematic and comprehensive inventory of architectural and art monuments. She started in

This basic and comprehensive, therefore also called fundamental , inventory has not yet been completed (2012). The published results of this inventory are referred to as the fundamental inventory or large inventory . By 1975 around 600 volumes had appeared.

The individual volumes are basically structured topographically, ie they describe the art monuments of a district or a place. In the case of larger and more important cities, several volumes can also be put together, for example separated into church and secular buildings. Particularly important monuments such as cathedrals are sometimes treated in their own volumes.

Although this inventory was comprehensively designed, initially only monuments from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance were recorded. It was only later that monuments from the Baroque and more recent architectural styles were added. Ecclesiastical monuments were also given preference . Since monuments from the 19th century, i.e. from historicism and the 20th century, are now also taken into account, the scope of the task to be performed has increased considerably. This also explains that it can take decades before work on an inventory tape can be completed. This is one of the reasons why, in many regions, only the volumes of the monument topography are published that only briefly describe the monuments that still exist.


In Switzerland appears with the book series The art monuments of Switzerland one of the 1927 Society for Swiss Art History out given large inventory of what has been 119 volumes of this monument inventory published (November 2011).


The Society for Swiss Art History, which is responsible for Switzerland, is working together with the Historical Association for the Principality of Liechtenstein as a special series of the inventory of art monuments of the Principality of Liechtenstein . After the first edition from 1950, a second inventory has been carried out since 1999, which should be completed in 2011.

Rapid inventory

Since it was already apparent at the end of the 19th century that the processing of the fundamental inventory would take many more decades, Georg Dehio proposed to carry out a shortened and accelerated inventory of selected monuments, which was later referred to as rapid inventory . It was accepted by the Day of the Preservation of Monuments in 1900 and the processing of the Handbook of German Art Monuments started . An inventory published as part of a quick inventory is called a short inventory .

Since on the one hand, 100 years after the start of the inventory, no completion of the work of the fundamental inventory was in sight, and on the other hand the qualitative selection of the Dehio handbook excluded many monuments, the heads of the state monument authorities decided in 1980 to edit the monument topography of the Federal Republic of Germany , which was a more precise compromise Seeks to achieve editing, more extensive selection and faster publication times. Currently (2012) most of the work is carried out within the framework of the monument inventory.


  • Rudolf Redtenbacher: Memorandum on the monuments in the German Reich, their inventory, recording, preservation and restoration. Published by the Association of German Architects and Engineers Publishers of the Deutsche Bauzeitung, Berlin [around 1877].
  • Theodor Harburger (Ed.): The inventory of Jewish art and cultural monuments in Bavaria. Jewish Museum Franconia, Fürth 1998, ISBN 3-9805388-5-0 (3 volumes).
  • Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe, Westfälisches Museumamt (Ed.): Inventory, documentation, inventory preservation. 4th, expanded and revised edition. Westphalian Museum Office, Münster 2004, ISBN 3-927204-58-7 .
  • Vera Denzer (ed.): Cultural landscape. Perception, inventory - regional examples. State Office for Monument Preservation Hesse, Archeology and Paleontology. Habelt, Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-7749-3334-0 .
  • Dieter J. Martin, Michael Krautzberger (ed.): Handbook of monument protection and preservation. 3rd, revised and significantly expanded edition. Beck, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-406-60924-4 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Inventory  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations