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Regular version of the site

190068 Saint Petersburg
123 Griboedov channel, Room 123

Phone:+7 (812)786-92-49 

Postal address: 
190068 Saint Petersburg
123 Griboedov channel

Department Head Adrian A. Selin
Academic Supervisor Evgeniy Anisimov
Remembering the Neoliberal Turn: Economic Change and Collective Memory in Eastern Europe after 1989

Gökarıksel S., Gontarska O., Hilmar T. et al.

L.: Routledge, 2023.

Book chapter
The Stolbovo Treaty and Tracing the Border in Ingria in 1617–1618

Adrian Selin.

In bk.: Sweden, Russia, and the 1617 Peace of Stolbovo. Vol. 14. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2024. P. 99-118.

Working paper
The Image of the Past in Ciro Spontone’s ‘Historia Della Transilvania’

Khvalkov E., Levin F., Кузнецова А. Д.

Working Papers of Humanities. WP. Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2021

History of Art

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Delivered by:
Department of History
Elective course
1 year, 3, 4 module


Course Syllabus


How to perceive art in the twenty-first century? What should we know about ancient Greek sculpture to admire (or dislike) a work of contemporary art? How to be critical of what you see? The goal of this course is to empower students with analytical optics for interpreting art. Considering milestone episodes from art history, students will get a basic understanding of the evolution of visual thinking during last millennium. Besides focusing on traditional forms of art such as painting, architecture, or sculpture, we will also consider diverse phenomena of visual culture broadly defined (such as advertisement, book illustration, maps, etc.). A practical goal of this course is to help master students to find and analyze a visual source, relevant to his or hers particular topic. Studies of art history will be parallel to studies of art theory. What elements constitute an image? How do these elements relate to each other? How words and images cooperate / conflict within a work of visual art? Finally, how to understand what you see? An encounter with a visual phenomenon may start with a formal analysis, i.e. from understanding its structure. This course introduces major aspects of the poetics and the rhetoric of pictorial languages applied elsewhere, from fine arts to computer design. In the course, we will be reading samples of theories by Russian and Soviet scholars (Pavel Florensky, Mikhail Bakhtin, Boris Uspensky, and others) and by Western scholars (Meyer Shapiro, Svetlana Alpers, Nicholas Mirzoeff, and others) in order to develop our visual literacy. Special attention will be paid to art of the twentieth century and Russian and Soviet art in a global context.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • introduce student to major concept within art history
  • teach students the basics of formal analysis
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Introduce students to the visual analysis.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Lecture 1. Art as a Convention Seminar 1. Semiotics, and the Basics of Visual Analysis
  • Lecture 2. A Brief History of Genres Seminar 2. The Category of Style
  • Lecture 6. Art and Utopia: Twentieth-Century Totalitarianisms Seminar 6. Cold War Aesthetics
  • Lecture 7. Modernisms Seminar 7. Art Beyond the Form (and Pleasure)
  • Lecture 3. A History of Art History Seminar 3. Does Art History Have a Method?
  • Lecture 4. The Exhibition Seminar 4. Word and Image
  • Lecture 5. Art on the Margins: “Primitives,” Naives, Children and Animals Seminar 5. Russian Art in the Global Context
  • Lecture 8. Approaching Art in the 21st Century Seminar 8. Concluding discussion (Topic to be announced)
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Essay
  • non-blocking Participation in seminars
  • non-blocking Final essay
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2023/2024 4th module
    0.45 * Essay + 0.25 * Final essay + 0.3 * Participation in seminars


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Alois Riegl : art history and theory, Iversen, M., 1993
  • Art history : a critical introduction to its methods, Hatt, M., 2013
  • Art history : a very short introduction, Arnold, D., 2004
  • Art history versus aesthetics, , 2010
  • Critical terms for art history, , 2003
  • Is art history global?, , 2007

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • (Non)conform: Russian and Soviet Art, 1958-1995 : the Ludwig collection, , 2007