Art theory disciplines have been an important component of our curriculum since the very foundation of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in 1885. The first professors of art history were the most celebrated Czech aesthetician of the time, Otakar Hostinský, and the art critic Karel B. Mádl. They were succeeded, among others, by the outstanding art historians Antonín Matějček, Václav Vilém Štech, Jaromír Pečírka, Václav Nebeský and František Kovárna.
The principles of art education at the present-day Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design include a balance between the intellectual and artistic growth of its students. The school provides the students with space for mutual reflection and self-reflection on their creativity, which is inevitably linked to contemplation of other artists' works, from both contemporary and historical perspectives. Comprehensive study of the humanities is therefore an integral part of our learning programs. Education in art history and theory, philosophy and aesthetics is aimed at providing future artists with a breadth of knowledge and developing their ability to adopt a critical stance and formulate theoretical concepts.
The Department of Art History and Aesthetics is a place where art theory and practice meet. The Department offers a wide spectrum of courses representing the development of fine art culture from prehistory up to the present day. Roughly a third of these courses is devoted to the course of events in the art world during the last fifty years. In addition to general, interdisciplinary topics, learning also covers the issues specific to the individual art disciplines - fine art, architecture and design. The Department also provides courses in philosophy and aesthetics, as well as instruction in teacher training and art management.
In addition to its six-year master's degree program, the Department also arranges individual theoretical training for doctoral candidates in four fields of study: Architecture and Design, Graphics and Visual Communication, Fine and Applied Arts and the Design and New Media Curator and Critic.
Since 2005 the Department has also offered a follow-on master's degree in the field of Theory and History of Design and New Media, which is not taught at any other school in the Czech Republic. The two-year program is geared towards graduates from bachelor's degree programs in art history or related disciplines.
The underlying premise of these studies is the conviction that the synergy arising during joint professional training will benefit future artists, critics and contemporary art curators as well as the educational institution itself.