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Regular version of the site

Arts History and Contemporary Cultural Practices

2020/2021
Academic Year
ENG
Instruction in English
9
ECTS credits
Course type:
Compulsory course
When:
1 year, 1-4 module

Instructor

Course Syllabus

Abstract

This course allows you to combine a questioning and critical approach to the historical study of art with a cultural focus on theories and practices of language, image, identity, gender, race, sexuality and class. Given that the meaning and understanding of ‘art’ or ‘culture’ change over time, you'll learn about the history of the various artistic practices. You'll also explore how societies have represented themselves and the world around them. You’ll gain a critical perspective on the world we live in now and deepen your understanding of how historical events, societal transformation and psychological processes impinge on cultural forms. Here theorists of modernity, of the city, of technology and of the mind will be drawn on to produce a better understanding of how people try to make sense of their changing worlds. The course is comprised of two parts. The first part (modules 1 and 2) is conducted during the Hermitage expositions and is dedicated to the architecture of the Hermitage building complex and the history of the world’s masterpiece collections accumulated in one of the biggest museums in the world. The series of exhibitions and lectures given by the Hermitage staff includes several thematic units: from building and architecture of the palace ensemble, the principal residence of the Russian Emperors from the middle of the 18th century, to acquiring and creating unique collections that became the basis of the museum collection fund. The Hermitage is an encyclopedic museum; and the offered course is only the beginning of the deep immersion into its complex and multifaceted structure. The second part of the course (3d module) is dedicated to modern art and modern cultural practices.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • - to introduce students to the essence, system of categories and key concepts of city marketing and management using the content of artworks (literature, the visual arts, the plastic arts, the decorative arts, the performing arts, and architecture)
  • to give an examples of how the city can be managed through arts.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Know and understand the architecture of the Hermitage complex of buildings and the history of world masterpiece collections
  • Able to use the means of cognition in the field of culture to increase the level of intellectual and cultural development, professional competence.
  • Able to understand Western European art
  • Know and understand the Western European applied arts
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • The Hermitage: Architecture, buildings and halls.
    The Small Hermitage, the Old Hermitage. The world’s art masterpieces acquired by the empress Catherine II in the late 17th century were initially placed in three palaces, the residence of the Russian Emperors, constructed by the renowned architects Rastrelli, Vallen de la Motte, and Felten: the Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage (it was exactly where the first Gotzkowsky’s collection acquired by Catharine in 1764, which is considered the founding year of the Hermitage), and so-called the Old or Large Hermitage. Unique characteristics of architectural decisions incorporated in the Hermitage buildings and halls of the Catharine period are the main topic of courses conducted during expositions as well as in the lecture hall. The Hermitage Theater. The Winter Palace of Peter I. The Hermitage Theater, the oldest theater stage of the former capital, was constructed in 1783 – 1787 at the behest of Catharine II by the architect Giacomo Quarenghi. The theater was built at the site of Peter I’s the former Winter Palace, which was reconstructed in the early 1990-s. Presently, it houses the exposition ‘the Winter Palace of Peter the Great’. The New Hermitage. In the 19th century the rapidly increasing collection of the Hermitage needed new space. The New Hermitage was built at the behest of Nicholas I in 1842–1851 designed by the German architect Leo von Klenze. The construction was in fact controlled by Vasiliy Stasov. This is the first building in Russia constructed as a public art museum. The General Staff Building. Architecture. The eastern wing of the General Staff Building constructed on the Palace Square by the renowned Russian classical architect Carlo Rossi in 1820-1830 is the new exposition complex of the State Hermitage Museum. By the late 1980-s, when this part was ceded to the museum, the interiors were partially destroyed and needed serious renovation. The only structures left in relatively good condition were the parade halls on the second floor, which retained original finishing done in accordance with Rossi’s sketches. Tender for renovation and reconstruction of the building was won by the architect agency “Studio 44”. The first stage of the reconstruction was initiated in 2008 and finished in 2014 for the Hermitage 250th anniversary. The General Staff Building. Youth Center. The Youth Center is a new experimental museum space for audience of 15 years and older. The operations are divided into several directions: the Student Club for students of Saint Petersburg institutions of higher education, international projects, art seminars, workshops, research and practical conferences, and interdisciplinary educational programs.
  • The Hermitage picture gallery. Masterpieces of Western European art.
    1. History of the collections. Catherine II’s collections and establishing of the Hermitage in the 18th century. The Hermitage in the 19th century. The Hermitage and the Revolution. Nationalization of the private collections. Selling the museum’s masterpieces abroad. The Hermitage during the Great Patriotic War. The Siege of Leningrad. The modern Hermitage and its branches in Russia and abroad. 2. Italy. Renaissance. Mannerism. The Baroque. Neoclassicism. Sculpture. The vast collection of Italian artists’ paintings encompasses a significant period of evolution of art from the 13th century to the early 19th century. World-famous Hermitage masterpieces of the Italian art collection include two paintings of Leonardo da Vinci – Madonna and Child with Flowers (Benois Madonna, 1478), Madonna Litta (between 1480 and 1491). Raphael is also presented by two paintings – The Madonna Connestabile (between 1502 and 1503) and Holy Family (circa 1506). Six Hermitage paintings by Titian illustrate various periods of his artistry, from one of his earliest works, the monumental Rest on the Flight into Egypt, to the masterpiece Saint Sebastian, created in his last years. The Hermitage also has the marble statue Crouching Boy of Michelangelo, the only work of the great master in Russian museums. 3. Netherlands, Holland, Flanders. The 15 – 17th centuries. 4. French art of the 15-18th centuries. The 17th century is the golden age of Flemish and Dutch painting. The exposition of Dutch art is one of the largest in the museum. It occupies six halls on the second floor of the New Hermitage. A separate hall is occupied with the collection of the great Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. The central piece of the Flemish painting school exposition presents the works of Peter Paul Rubens. It includes paintings of various genres – landscapes, portraits, biblical, and mythological subjects. The Hermitage collection of French paintings is one of the largest outside France. One of the most famous masters of the French Classicism of 17th century, Nicolas Poussin, is presented in our museum with 12 works. A special place of the Hermitage collection is occupied by paintings of the prominent 18th century artists, Antoine Watteau and Jean-Baptiste Chardin. 5. The Italian art of the 20th century. The General Staff Building. The General Staff Building houses mainly collections of European art of 19-20th centuries as well as the newly created collections of modern art, which constantly grows. The historic halls on the second floor accommodate the exhibition Under the Sign of the Eagle, compiled predominantly of classic examples of French and Russian applied arts of the early 19th century. Collections of European arts of the 19th century housed in the General Staff Building are relatively small; however, they include works of renowned masters. In particular, in the halls of German art, there is one of the best collections of Caspar David Friedrich, a master of German romanticism. The collection of Italian art is interesting for its scenic works and sculptures of the biggest masters of the first half of the 20th century. 6. General Staff Building. The French art of the late 19th – early 20th centuries. The Shchukin and Morozov collections. Impressionism, postimpressionism. The Shchukin and Morozov collections. Cubism, fauvism. In 1948 the State Museum of New Western Art in Moscow, which had gathered private collections of the Moscow collectors S.I. Shchukin and I.A. Morozov after the nationalization were eliminated. And the lavish collection of the museum was divided between the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow and the State Hermitage Museum. The 4th floor of the General Staff Building houses the newly re-opened exposition of French paintings of the middle 19th – early 20th centuries, incorporated into the gallery dedicated to the memory of Sergey Shchukin and the Morozov brothers. These are the people the Hermitage owes for the dazzling, world-famous collection of French art from Impressionism and Postimpressionism to Fauvism and Cubism of the early 20th century.
  • Applied arts
    The halls of the Hermitage contain the largest collection of Western European art from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Over the course of the classes dedicated to the history, artistic characteristics and technical methods of this most ancient art there will be demonstrations of best specimen among furniture, carpets, porcelain, faience, silver, artistic weaponry, jewelry, costumes, many of which belonged to the Imperial Family and were located in the Winter Palace and other imperial residences. 1. France: Ceramics. Saint-Porchaire faience. Bernard Palissy. Germany: Meissen factory. Italy: Maiolica. England: Wedgwood ‘Green Frog Service’. 2. France. Germany. England: Jewelry, the Diamond Room. 3. France. Italy. Flanders: Tapestry; France. Germany. England: Furniture. 4. Costume. Costume gallery in the Storage Centre.
  • Modern art and modern cultural practices
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking homework
  • non-blocking class work
  • non-blocking test
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.2 * class work + 0.2 * homework + 0.6 * test
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Laura Perdew. (2015). History of Art. Essential Library.

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Rosenthal, E., Rosenthal, D., & Esplund, L. (2013). Contemporary Art in the Light of History. Arcade.