One of the most important living art historians, Hans Belting, together with Christa Belting-Ihm, donated their collection of literature on medieval art to the Center for Early Medieval Studies at the Department of Art History Faculty of Arts Masaryk University, allowing for the establishment of a library named after the donor. With the quality of the collection acquired, the Center rises to the level of the best European institutions.
The donated collection contains several works that are essential pillars for the study of medieval art, but were lacking in Central Europe. This mainly concerns literature dedicated to manuscripts (mainly from Eastern world and the Apennine peninsula), Constantinople, Venice, southern Italy, Rome, Ravenna, Russia and the Caucasus. The Hans Belting Library includes not only extensive literature for the study of medieval art, but also rare facsimiles (e.g. Vienna Genesis, Chludov Psalter, Utrecht Psalter, Rotulus Exultet, etc.). A large part of the collection is focused to the study of the monumental art of the Christian East, from Constantinople through the Caucasus to Egypt and Syria. An important section is also devoted to iconic paintings, called "icons". Other notable components of the library are dozens of volumes of Greek and Latin sources and an extensive collection thematising the Cathedral of St. Mark in Venice. The collection also includes a series of several periodicals, especially Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum and Münstersche Mittelater-Schriften. Worth mentioning is also a stunning collection of several hundred papers – now moribund forms of scientific literature – often with a dedication from great scholars in the field such as Kurt Weitzmann, Ernst Kitzinger and Richard Krautheimer. A valuable gift is also part of Belting’s archive.
Therefore, in the Brno library, those who are interested can get to know, for instance, the complete photo library of the donor, his commentary and several unpublished handwritten articles.
The library is accessible to anyone who is interested, especially to specialized researchers from the Czech Republic, but also to students, who previously often had to travel abroad for such literature. The library is located in building “K” of the Faculty of Arts Masaryk University on Veveří Street in Brno. With the capacity of twenty-six spaces and, above all, direct access to books, it provides researchers a high-quality study area and favourable working conditions. The current library came into being primarily thanks to significant support from the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Milan Pol, and the head of the Department of Art History, Ondřej Jakubec.