Modern and contemporary art

The field of modern and contemporary art belongs to one of the essential parts of the Department of Art History, logically corresponding to the importance it plays both in the present world and in art historical practice. It places high demands on graduates for the knowledge of the art at the turn of the 19th and early 20th centuries, interwar and post-war modernism, various manifestations of contemporary artwork, as well as more academic and traditional attitudes appearing alongside the avant-garde and modernist approaches. Indeed, a substantial part of the artefacts which are held in public or private institutions or which are sold on the art market comes from this period. One of the necessary focal points of contemporary art-historical research is examining the sources on contemporary history and the art business, especially in a social context. There are growing demands not only on theoretical and methodological resources of educated art historians, their language skills and cultural-historical insight but also on critical visual expertise of various artistic expressions: painting, drawing, prints, sculpture, photography, design or new media.

Therefore, we focus not only on the traditional introduction of the development of modern and contemporary art within the domestic and foreign (especially European and transatlantic) space but also on current visual theories and theories of images, history as well as the present situation of art criticism, theory and practice of art collecting and patronage, archival and provenance research or the operation of domestic and foreign museums and galleries. At the same time, we observe the extent to which traditional artistic problems (portraiture, landscape painting, still life) are transformed in the work of artists of the modern era. We also support students in travelling abroad, where they can learn about Czech exile art and about relationships in Central Europe.

In the field of art of the 20th and 21st century, the Department of Art History strives to train erudite theorists, historians, curators or critics capable of independent work in the relevant field of art-historical practice, whether it is managing public collecting institutions or galleries of contemporary art, teaching or preserving historical monuments, writing for specialized periodicals or working in an academic environment. Emphasis is placed not only on mastering and merging theoretical and practical knowledge corresponding to the current international state of research and increasing interdisciplinarity, but also on key skills of written and oral expression in various levels of expertise, the ability to analyse and interpret specific phenomena of modern and contemporary art, independent critical reflection of problems and finding ways to solve them.