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Department of Theory of Art

Last modified: 
2021, July 16 - 10:23am

The youngest department in the Institute of History of Art is the Department of Theory of Art, established in 2010. From its beginning it has been chaired by Professor Tomasz Torbus, engaged in historic preservation and theory of architecture over the centuries, and providing lectures, inter alia, on these topics. The department also employs Dr. Beata Purc-Stępniak and Dr. Anna Sobecka. Each of the scholars working in the Department of Theory of Art represents a somewhat different methodological approach. Research in theory of art and architecture is multidisciplinary, involving analysis of written sources, using auxiliary sciences of history, insightful interpretation of culture, including also elements of ethnology and philosophy. Lecturers for particular topics are selected in a specific manner – not only to present their knowledge of history and art, but also to bring about diversified methodological approaches based on their own research. Professor Torbus uses architectural analysis, as well as inquisitory critique of written sources; he also takes up problems connected with the iconography of power, and includes ethnological studies in his research. Dr. Purc-Stępniak, a museum expert, in her research on painting employs formal analysis and iconology, as well as elements of anthropology of images, whereas Dr. Sobecka studies paintings, works of graphic art and artistic craft in a broader context of culture, and when interpreting them she takes into consideration the presence of spectator-recipient. Fundamentals of methodology of art history are taught during the first year of studies as part of a substantial course in introduction to art history. Elements of the theory of art are also included in all courses covering periods in art history, beginning with antiquity, through Middle ages, the modern period up to the contemporary period, as well as at special courses at subsequent years of studies: studies in history of art, methodology of art history, history of art theory, theoretical aspects of contemporary visual art, and research workshop for art historian.