The Institute of Art History is a public scientific institution focusing on the history and theory of Croatian visual arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, town planning, regional planning and visual communications) from all chronological or stylistic periods, from the Early Middle Ages to recent events. In addition to scholarly activities and research, the Institute has also systematically developed its library and documentation (library, archives, photo-library and library of plans), its database of Croatian art heritage (art works and monuments) and its publications.
The Institute was founded in 1961 at the Faculty of Arts in Zagreb with the aim of promoting, co-ordinating and linking scholarly research with the teaching of the history of art and archaeology. It was conceived and founded by professors Grgo Gamulin and Milan Prelog who directed its research activities in close collaboration with the Department for History of Art.
Over time, the Institute changed its status. In 1963 it grew into an independent institution. In 1968 it acquired the status of a university institute. From 1974 to 1991, because it did not meet certain legal requirements, it was integrated into the Centre for Historic Studies, which later became the Institute for Historic Studies of the University of Zagreb, and comprised four former institutes of arts as its departments: Archaeology, History, History of Art and Philosophy. In 1991 it again became an independent Institute. Under a 1993 law regulating scholarship and science it acquired its present status as a public institute.
The Institute currently employs 15 scientists, 10 research fellows and 7 research assistants
The results of scientific research are published on a regular basis, mainly in the journals (Radovi Instituta za povijest umjetnosti, Život umjetnosti) and publications of the Institute. In the late 1970s the Institute launched its own publishing programme.
The Institute has been located in at its present address since 1991.