The library of the Department of Art History was founded at the Masaryk University in 1926. Books acquired by the founding activity of prof. Eugen Dostál (1889-1943), the first professor of art history at the university in Brno, became the core of the collection. Later, the art history section of the private library of writer, poet and teacher, František Táborský (1858-1940) also became a significant part of the new library after he bequeathed it to the Masaryk University as an awardee of an its honourable doctorate degree. After the closure of the German part of the Charles University in Prague and after the delamination of its library, the Brno library was enriched further by a considerable amount of duplicates of art history literature of this provenance.
Mostly German-written art history and cultural history literature is prevalent in the older section of the library. The interwar period is already represented by classic Czech scholarly literature. In the post-war period, the library continued to be continuously supplemented by domestic literature. Foreign publications from European countries was acquired thanks to the personal initiative of university professors Václav Richter and Albert Kutal, or through foreign exchange for domestic book production (especially thanks to the dedication of Zdeněk Kudělka).
An interesting part of the library is the book collection of old prints which was obtained by Masaryk University thanks to the separation of the property of Matice Moravská (chiefly books that were donated to Matice Moravská by Count Bedřich Sylva-Taroucca). Thus, there are not only significant and classic theoretical works on architecture (J. Barozzi da Vignola, Pierre Le Muet, Andrea Palladio, Francesco Muttoni, Gérard de Lairesse, Andrea Pozzo), but also the collected works of Johann Joachim Winckelmann and a set of graphic illustrations for the work of J. B. Seroux d´Agincourt.
The library also includes an extensive diatheca, containing a series of slides previously used for teaching, a collection of photographs (founded by Prof. Albert Kutal) and a set of planning documentation of objects, mainly from the Romanesque and the transitional period in Moravia (created by Prof. Václav Richter and Prof. Zdeněk Kudělka). Currently, gradual digitization of this image collection is taking place at the Department of Art History.
After reopening the Department of the History of Art in 1990, the purchase of books was initially supported by a grant from the J. P. Getty Trust.Subsequently, thanks to further funding obtained from grants and subsidies by researchers and PhD students, it was possible not only to fill in the largest gaps in the book collection of the normalization period but also to systematically purchase fundamental titles of contemporary art history literature.During this period, the number of books in the library practically doubled compared to the library’s state in the early 1990s.
On February 19, 2016, a new study hall was opened on the ground floor of our building at Veveří 28, named after the renowned art historian Hans Belting, who donated a part of his private book collection to our library. The new library is mainly focused on literature concerning the Middle Ages in Bohemia as well as around the whole world. It is based entirely on open access to shelves, the present staff can help with your initial search.The J. Paul Getty reading room on the second floor will continue to operate, with no changes in its operation. There you can find books focusing on the periods from the Renaissance to the present.
Today, the library of the Department of Art History contains 24,000 volumes of scientific monographs, catalogues, as well as popular science books. Students and researchers can also find 250 journal titles in about 4,500 volumes. An integral part of the library are the doctoral, diploma and bachelor theses defended by students of art history at Masaryk University and a small collection of auction catalogues.
The library is primarily intended for scholars and students of the Faculty of Arts, but it is open to the entire academic community and to anyone from the expert or general public who is interested.The books in the library are reference only. The on-line catalogue contains all the books from the library, however, only magazines since 1995 are listed, older volumes (as well as all the theses) must be found in a classic card catalogue. The borrowing service is provided by internal PhD students; the loan period is announced on the Department’s notice board at the beginning of each semester.