Filozofická Fakulta

Selected Topics from the Czech Art History II


Erasmus course, winter semester of 2019/2020

chief coordinator PhDr. Lenka Šimková


Ing. Mgr. Markéta Čejková

Czech Modernism in Architecture (focused on Prague)

The lecture will outline the Czech architectional modernism between the world wars with the special focus on Prague. The economic, political and cultural specifics will be briefly discussed first to explain the unique situation of Czechoslovakia as a newly established democracy. The  lecture will then cover the individual as well as collective housing with excellent examples of Villa Müller designed by Adolf Loos, the housing estate Baba built in Prague 6 by almost exclusively Czech architects continuing with examples of other than housing architecture.

Recommended reading:

Premysl Veverka, Radomira Sedlakova, Petr Krajci, Zdenek Lukes, Dita Dvorakova, Pavel Vlcek: Great Villas of Prague, Prague 2008
Petr Urlich (ed), Lenka Popelová, Radomíra Sedláková, Pavel Skranc, Pavel Vlček, Petr Vorlík: Great Buildings of Prague 6, Prague 2009
Jana Hornekova, Karel Ksandr, Maria Szadkowska, Vladimir Slapeta: Villa Müller, Prague 2002

Czech Cubism in Architecture (focused on Prague)

The lecture will discuss the very specific aspect of cubism developed almost exclusively by the Czech architects. It will cover the background, the development and the most interesting constructions completed within a very short time period between 1911 and 1927. The buildings and constructions discussed are mostly located in Prague but a few out of Prague ones will be mentioned as well. As a bonus cubistic design realised by the Czech cubistic architects will be covered by the lecture as well.

Recommended reading:

Zdeněk Lukes, Ester Havlova: Czech Architectural Cubism, Prague 2006

Museum of Czech Cubism, entrance fee

The lecture will be held in the Museum of Czech Cubism focusing on cubistic design (furniture, glass, porcelaine and china, paintings, posters, etc.). As the museum is located in a very famous cubistic house designed by Josef Gočár, the lecture will also cover the architecture and design of the building.


Marie Fiřtová, M.A.

Prague – Munich: cultural influences around the mid-19th century

The fine arts in the Czech lands during the nineteenth century are without any doubt interwoven with German Munich as an important centre of the arts next to Düsseldorf and Vienna. Many Czech painters went to Munich to deepen their knowledge and to get to know the local art collections. The other way around, some of the Munich artists, such as Christian Ruben and Maximilian Haushofer, came to Prague to teach at the Prague Academy of Fine Arts. In this talk I would like to give a general overview of the evolution of the romantic and the beginning of the realistic painting (mainly on the example of the landscape) on the Czech artistic scene and focus on the obvious tension between the academic and non-academic art around the mid-19th century.


Taťána Petrasová – Rostislav Švácha (eds.), Art in the Czech Lands 800–2000, Praha: Artefactum – Arbor vitae societas, 2017
TaťánaPetrasová, Roman Prahl (eds.), Mnichov - Praha: výtvarné umění mezi tradicí a modernou = München - Prag: Kunst zwischenTraditionundModerne. Praha: Academia, 2012
Haushoferova krajinářská škola = Die Landschaftsschule von Haushofer = Haushofer'slandscapepaintingschool: Galerie Kroupa, Litomyšl, 28.5.-10.7.2016. Překlad Marek Bárta a Eva Žallmannová. Litomyšl: Miroslav Kroupa - Galerie Kroupa, 2016.


Mgr. Anežka Mikulcová

Forgotten genres of visual culture of the late 18th and 19th century (Portrait Silhouettes, Profile Portraits, Shadow Theatre, Papercutting etc.)

The goal of this lecture is to offer a wider perspective on late 18th and 19th century art, which is usually observed only through so called higher culture (paintings, sculptures, architecture). However, art of this epoch was much more varied and it was composed of different fields of arts and applied arts. The main centrepiece of the lecture will be portrait silhouettes that are a specific part of visual culture. They range from the leisure-time product of dilettantes to high-quality and cultivated art expression of specialists. They can be created with different techniques like painting, cutting, verreé glomisé or mechanical tracing the shadow, which contributed to the diversity of this art. Silhouettes correspond with the then taste, which was formed by classicism, physiognomy, relation between shadow and lights etc. We will also observe how this field of art changed its character at the turn of 19th and 20th century in connection with photography, film and graphic design. Through their interconnection with other nowadays forgotten genres we will also speak about Shadow Theatre, Paper Cutting or Wax Portraits.

Recommended literature in chronological order:

August Edouart, A treatise on Silhouette Likenesses, London 1835
E. Nevill Jackson, The history of silhouettes, London 1911
Max von Boehn, Miniaturen und Silhouetten. EinKapitelausKulturgeschichte und Kunst, München 1917 [later 1919]
Raymond Lister, Silhouettes: an Introduction to their History and to the Art of Cutting and Painting them, London 1950
Emma Rutherford, Silhouette. The Art of Shadow, New York 2009
Asma Naeem, Black Out. Silhouette Then and Now, Washington 2018


Mgr. Milan Matějka

ymago de praga, beautiful madona/pieta as complex Bildforms - peak of visual arts in Medieval Bohemia

Relevance of Prague artistic center was determined by intense touch with foreign environment. From the perspective of European art-history the term international gothic can be related, for its Prague variety we can use term beautiful style (krásnýsloh, Schöne Stil). Advanced visual culture and production of sophisticated religious images was attached to following polarity: cherishly nourished cult of Holy Virgin supported by circle of archbishop of Prague at one side and questioning the legitimacy of presence of artworks in liturgical space by the reformists at the other. Formentioned polarity is dependant with beautiful Madonna and beautiful pieta phenomena, that could be understood as an „complex visual form“, from the perspective of Bohemian art history (or in the more escalated national Czech perspective) as the absolute peak of domestic visual tradition, that was not surpassed in following centuries . However, beautiful artworks were subject of criticism from reform-oriented theologians (Matěj z Janova, Mikuláš z Drážďan, Jan Hus), later on being systematically destroyed in war and turmoil to come. Ongoing research is trying to answer the reasons for the excessive beautiful form of artworks and its role for Christian Bohemian audience in late 14th century from perspective of visual studies, gender, religious and political propaganda and medieval theology and philosophy. In my lecture I would like to introduce the beautiful phenomena in the context of medieval art in Bohemia and current state of research and methodology related to the topic, that can allow us partial interpretation of the artworks, a well as their role in medieval society.

"honest pictures" - visual art in religiously disturbed country 

As we can track in the pastoral and religious essays of the scholars of the period the contemporary beautiful phenomena was refused as “untruthful” and manipulative formal artistic creation. If we follow religious writing of the period ((Matěj z Janova, Mikuláš z Drážďan, Jan Hus), we can reconstruct the art theory leading to refusal of beautiful phenomena and creation of honest relevant artworks “truthfully” representing the religious figures. In my lecture I would like to introduce visual turn leading to birth of new visual language creating the honest pictures (term firstly used in The Compacts of Basel) and violently harsh refusal of previous visual tradition and I would like to try to introduce the role of art in religiously and socially disturbed society.

Michaela Ottová: TheBeautiful Madonna and mediaevalemotions – Tensionbetweenform and content. In: Art and architecturearound 1400. Global and regionalperspectives, Maribor 2012 ¨

Milena Bartlová: WasQueen Sophia ofBavariaan Art Patron?. Milena Bartlová. In: Prag unddiegrossenKulturzentrenEuropas in der Zeit der Luxemburger (1310-1437) Praha, 2008, 623-634.

Ruben Ernst Weltsch, Archbishop John ofJenstein (1348-1400). Papalism, Humanism and Reform in Pre-Hussite Prague, TheHague 1968

Complete list of Czech and German language literature will be provided during the lectures.

Individual visit of The Collection of Medieval Art in National Gallery (Kláštersv. AnežkyČeské, 15min of walk from Celetná 20) current exhibition at Prague Castle dedicated to Václav IV. is recommanded. As well as Calvary in Church of Holy Virgin at Týn close to the Campus.) Personal experience with Pieta and Virgin (Křivákova pieta, Madonašternberská – only two beautiful artworks accessible in Museum in the territory of Czech Republic) in Archdiocesan Museum in Olomouc (2 hours from Prague, worth visiting) is appropriate, since the experience of voluminous artwork can not be substituted in photography. Unfortunately, Administration of Prague Castle does not provide English version.


PhDr. Petra Matějovičová

Jewellery (14th – 18th centuries)

Jewellery represented in painting, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts etc.           

            (rolesplayed by jewellery).

Jewel as a three / four dimensional object composed of both abstract and figurative elements including figural scenes.

Jewellery and light, space, movement etc.

Jewellery and senses.

The second life of jewels – a different context, new roles, rearrangements.

Jewellery worn by men / women.

Jewellery and “autorship”.

Objects represented / made / worn / found in Bohemia will be contextualized thanks to the aforementioned ideas.



any compendium dedicated to the history of jewellery in general- A

or to jewellery in one particular period - B

or to one type ofjewellery - C

or one catalogue of a pertinent collection

(Waddesdon Bequest to the British Museum; Thyssen-BornemiszaColl., Lugano etc.)

= basic knowledge required


examples (most of them accessible via library of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague):


Joan Evans, A History of Jewellery 1100-1870, London 1953.

Ingrid Kuntzsch, A History of Jewels and Jewellery, Leipzig 1979.

Hugh Tait (ed.), Jewellery through 7000 Years, London 1976.


J.M. Fritz, Goldschmiedekunst der Gotik in Mitteleuropa. Munchen 1982.

Fritz Falk, Bijoux européens. De l´Historismejusqu´al´Artnouveau.Baden 1985.

/ German and English versions available

EwaLetkiewicz, Klejnoty w OsiemnastowiecznejPolsce / Jewellery in 18th Century Poland.Lublin 2011.

Priscilla E. Muller,Jewels in Spain 1500 – 1800. New York 1972.

+ search for the following authors:

Shirley Bury, Marian Campbell, Charlotte Gere, Yvonne Hackenbroch, Ronald W. Lightbown,Tessa Murdoch, Judy Rudoe, Maria Sframeli, A. Somers Cocks, Jan Walgrave, Susan Weber Soros, Dora Thornton


Geoffrey Munn, Tiaras. Past and Present, London 2008.

Geoffrey C. Munn, Tiaras – A History of Splendour. Woodbridge 2001.

Diana Scarisbrick,Rings. Symbols of Wealth, Power and Affection.

London, Thames and Hudson, 1993.

Diana Scarisbrick,Rings. Jewelry of Power, Love and Loyalty.

London, Thames and Hudson, 2007.

Jewellery (19th – 21st centuries)

Jewellery represented in portraits.

Illusionistic representation in jewellery.

Vital forces and jewellery.

A jewel = one object / a parure / a variable composition of several objects.

Variable / kinetic jewels.

Jewellery as an art form – roles played by viewer and wearer.

Jewellery and human body.

Performative aspect of jewellery as art x performance art.

Jewellery as means of communication.

any compendium or monography
= basic knowledge required
Lisbeth den Besten, On Jewellery: a compendium of international contemporary art jewellery. Stuttgart 2011.
Karl Bollmann – GraziellaFolchiniGrassetto, Jewellery 1970-2015: Bollmann Collection.Stuttgart 2015.

Barbara Cartlidge,  Twentieth-century Jewelry. New York 1985.

Peter Dormer – Ralph Turner, The New Jewelry. Trends + Traditions. London 1985.

Helen W. Drutt – Peter Dormer, Jewelry of our time. London - New York 1995.

MariàngelsFondevila (ed.), Joyas de artista. Del modernismo a la Vanguardia. 

Barcelona (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya) 2010

Susan Grant Lewin, One of a Kind – American Art Jewelry Today. New York 1994.

Toni Greenbaum, Messengers of Modernism: American Studio Jewelry 1940-1960.

Montreal (Museum of Decorative Arts) 1996. 

CornelieHolzach (ed.), Art Déco. Schmuck und Accessoires.EinneuerStilfüreineneue Welt. / Jewellery and Accessories. A New Style for a New World. Stuttgart 2008.

Judy Rudoe, Cartier 1900-1939. New York - London1997.

Cindi Strauss, Ornament as Art, Avant-Garde Jewelry from the Helen Williams Drutt Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.Houston – Stuttgart 2007

monographies etc.



René Lalique is a very well documented Art Nouveau jewellery designer.

You will be able to find several books or papers dedicated to Wiener Werkstätte jewellery production.

Concerning contemporary jewellery, Otto Künzli, Bruno Martinazzi, GerdRothmann or Ruudt Peters belong to well documented artists.

+ A Lark Jewelry Book – 500 series(500 Brooches; 500 Earrings; 500 Bracelets etc.)

can be of some help.


Mgr. Marianna Placáková

Feminist Art in Czechoslovakia under State Socialism

The second wave of feminism did not happen in post-war Czechoslovakia. After 1948, the socialist state was in charge of gender equality and independent women's organisations were banned. Despite the impossibility of civil activism, gender criticism has emerged in the field of art. The lecture introduces feminist art from the sixties to the eighties in its political, social, cultural and material conditions.


ALTMANN, Susanne et al. (eds.), Medea muckt auf, Dresden, Walther König 2019.
BÜNGEROVÁ, Vladimíra, GREGOROVÁ, Lucia, Jana Želibská. No Touching, Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava 2012.
GJURIČOVÁ, Adéla, Naked Democracy. Eroticism and Nudity in Czech Public Space after 1989, in: DANIEL, Ondřej – KAFKA, Tomáš – MACHEK, Jakub (eds.), Popular Culture and Subcultures of Czech Post-Socialism. Listening to the Wind of Change, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2016, pp. 37-53.
HAVELKOVÁ, Hana, OATES-INDRUCHOVÁ, Libora (eds.), The Politics of Gender Culture under State Socialism: an Expropriated Voice, London-New York, Routledge 2014.
MOTARD, Alice et al., Běla Kolářová, London, Raven Row 2013.
PACHMANOVÁ, Martina, Laying Diapers, Loving Nature: Maternity as a Private Act and Political Gesture, in: KOBOLT, Katja, ZDRAVKOVIČ, Lana (eds.), Performative Gestures. Political Moves, Zagreb 2014, pp. 57-63.
PLACÁKOVÁ, Marianna, I, Naděžda Plíšková, Museum Kampa, Prague 2019.

RUSINOVÁ, Zora, The Totalitarian Period and Latent Feminism, in: PEJIĆ, Bojana (ed.), Gender Check: a Reader, MUMOK, Wien 2010, pp. 145-150.


PhDr. Lenka Šimková

Czech Land Art – Is There Such a Thing?

When we hear “land art” the first thing that usually springs to mind is one of the vast pieces which one of the American land-artists created in the desert areas of the US. However, the urge of the sixties and seventies for an intervention into nature or an artistic interaction with it materialized in many much more subtle and modest projects. This applies not only to the already mentioned US but also to Europe and more specifically to the communist Czechoslovakia which will be the focus of our interest. Are the pieces with distinctive natural element usually simply categorised under “action art” in fact a specific form of land art or is it yet a different thing?

Recommended literature:

Morganová, Pavlína. Czech Action Art: Happenings, Actions, Events, Land Art, Body Art and Performance Art Behind The Iron Curtain. Prague 2014
Morganová, Pavlína. A Walk through Prague. Actions, Performances, Happenings 1949-1989, Prague 2014
Klímová, Barbora. Replaced. Brno 2006
Taťána Petrasová and Rostislav Švácha (eds.). Art in the Czech Lands 800 – 2000. Prague 2017
- The Object, p. 822 - 823
- In Harmony with Universe, p. 900 – 902


Mgr. Eliška Podholová Varyšová

Functionalism in Prague

Recommended literature:

Rostislav Švácha: The architecture of new Prague 1895-1945, Cambridge 1995 (National library),

Rostislav Švácha (ed.): Form follows science. Teige, Gillar and European scientific functionalism 1922-1948, Prague 2000 (National technical library, Museum of decorative arts - library),

Zdeněk Lukeš (ed.): Prague functionalism. Tradition and contemporary echoes, Prague 2012 (National technical museum - library)


Historic preservation of modern architecture

Recommended literature

Iveta Černá, Ivo Hammer: Materiality. Proceedings of the international symposium on the preservation of modern movement architecture, Brno 2008 (National library)


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