History of Arts

Artibus Atque Historiae. Dedicated to Art and Its History.

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The Art History study programme offers students the opportunity to understand visual objects in all areas of the discipline of art history (architecture, sculpture, painting, applied arts, and visual culture) in their various historical and contemporary forms, styles, and functions.

The three-year Bachelor’s degree program in Art History aims to prepare its graduates to make use of their knowledge of architecture and the fine arts in a wide area of professional positions in the artistic, cultural ,and public spheres.

The subject of art history is concerned with the understanding, analyses, and historical comprehension of works of art. It studies their artistic formation, style, and function, and their later critical reception. It also examines the creators - artists and patrons, art movements, and 'the operations of art history' (gallery institutions, monument care, and art criticism). In terms of the most general spectrum of interests, art history currently provides a general historical study of images and hermeneutics of visual images.

The central focus of the Bachelor’s degree study program involves obtaining basic knowledge and practical skills concerning understanding works of art from the late Classical period to the present. This culminates in the student having the ability to provide descriptions and analysis of visual works of art and comprehend them in all areas of the discipline of art history. The subject is conceived in a fashion that provides students with a complete overview of the area of art creation and also a basic overview of those skills required for working in the field of art in practical operations of cultural institutions.

Potential students for the programme are first and foremost those interested in art works of both the past and the present, who have experience from visits to art-history museums and galleries, and who have a certain knowledge of art history. Future art historians should have a visual memory and sense for artistic form and the details of art works. At least a passive knowledge of one of the world languages is important for future studies.

Graduates from program develop not only a basic knowledge of the history of architecture, visual arts, and visual culture but also exercise the primary principles of the art-history ‘craft’ when interpreting works of art, depending on independent work with theoretical literature and finally making use of their knowledge and skills.

The research and teaching emphasis of the Art History Seminar has been traditionally focused on research into the art history of Moravia and in Central Europe from Classical art to the contemporary period. An emphasis is also placed on knowledge of gallery museum studies and monument care as well as the historiography and methodology of art history. Along with this traditional focus, research into European and Byzantine art of the early Medieval period over its entire geographical extent is also included (the Research Centre for Early Medieval Studies: West – Byzantium – Islam). The instruction takes place in cooperation with foreign specialists and institutes. Students thereby have the opportunity to make a closer acquaintance with the scholarly environment abroad which will assist them in preparing their final Bachelor’s thesis.

Students have the use of two libraries during their studies.

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After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:

  • be acquainted with the foundations of art-history disciplines, basic research techniques, and methodological approaches
  • recognise and analyse the most important works of art from World, European, and Central European art
  • analyse selected art works from the perspective of the material aspects of the work, the technical treatment of the work, stylistic criticism, iconography, and function, and the ability to localise it in the period and location
  • seek out and critically evaluate information which influenced the appearance and direction of the stylistic transformations (commissioner, confession, function, changes in technology, etc.)
  • communicate various expressions of artistic and visual cultural to the public (written work, presentations accompanying pictures, small publications, articles, etc.)
  • document and catalogue works of visual culture and understand the various basic methodological approaches (interpretation of form, iconography-iconology, reception-aesthetics and cultural-historical approaches)
  • utilise the obtained skills of the art-history craft for writing their final Bachelor’s thesis.
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Graduates of the Bachelor’s degree programme of Art History will be able to work in all professions requiring the application of a basic knowledge of the history of works of art both in the past and at present. These kinds of professions primarily consist of lower work positions in museum and gallery institutions, in monument care, and in additional cultural and educational institutions, or even in local administration bodies.

As a result of the knowledge and skills acquired during their studies, graduates will be able to work first and foremost in administration and documentation of artistic artefacts (for example, as an assistant to a curator, documentalist, or custodian of a historical building) or in mediating art (as a guide in the area of tourism or a cultural editor in the area of the media, television, or radio).

Although the degree in art history prepares students for careers in the art world, it also equips them with intellectual and practical skills applicable to many different spheres of employment. At present when visual culture and an understanding of it play an increasingly important role in society, graduates can make use of their abilities in a range of additional professions (for example, in trade in art and antiques or in presentation and propagation of art work, and in publicity).

Students with very good results from their Bachelor's studies have the opportunity to continue with the linked Master’s degree program of Art History.

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During standard Bachelor's studies, which lasts six semesters, students have to meet faculty-wide requirements (a minimum language ability, credits from philosophy and physical education) which are included into the overall number of ECTS credits.

Prior to the final exam, students have to obtain a total of 180 ECTS credits. The structure of the study curriculum is divided into required subjects (A type courses), selective subjects (B type courses), and elective subjects (C type courses):

Required courses consist of primarily introductory courses at the beginning of the studies. Attendance of core seminars is also mandatory (subject, methodological, and thematic) as is at least one practical course. Students have to pass one written exam after the first year (97 ECTS credits are needed in all).

Selective courses are offered in a sufficient number so as to allow students to choose from courses in thematic modules (architecture, early Medieval art, general art history from the Middle Ages to the present). Lectures deepen the knowledge of the periods of art history, art works, and artists. The programme also includes courses which provide practical training in partner museum and gallery institutions (40 ECTS credits are needed in all).

Elective subjects are subjects which can be chose from offerings of other subjects at the Art History Seminar, other subjects at the Faculty of Arts, or even at other faculties of Masaryk University based on their interests and focus (43 ECTS elective credits are needed in all).

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The final Bachelor's exam takes places as a rule after successfully defending the final Bachelor's thesis. During the defence, the student should demonstrate an ability to discuss the issue being analysed in a cultivated manner and with critical terminology. They should be able to react in the discussion with their readers and carry out a general argument.

The final Bachelor's exam consists of visual and factual knowledge of art history over the entire range of the subject. Students prepare for the exam on the basis of the given exam questions. The study materials also include sub-questions which are aimed not only at factual knowledge, but also at the practical application of this knowledge by the future graduate in practice.

The exam is oral and is made up of four exam areas and one supplementary question:

(1) Art history from the late Classical period up to the late Middle Ages (sculpture art and painting).

(2) Art history of the Early Modern period up to the year 1850 (sculpture art and painting).

(3) Art history of the Modern period and the present.

(4) The history of architecture (from the pre-Romanesque architecture up to the Modern period).

(x) The supplementary question tests the knowledge from the list of mandatory critical literature.

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Graduates from the Bachelor’s degree programme of Art History can continue in the linked Master’s degree in Art History after meeting the conditions of the entrance exam.

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Field of study specifications

Field of Study: History of Arts
Abbreviation: DU
Code: 8109R002
Type: Bachelor's degree programme
Degree: Bc.
Accreditation: to 31/12/2024
Programme: B8109 B-OT General Theory and History of Arts and Culture
Faculty of Arts
Field of study guaranteed by:
Faculty of Arts
Field guarantor:
prof. Ivan Foletti, MA, Docteur ès Lettres