Since May 2018 a touring exhibition has been taking place of work from the photographic studio of Rudolf Sandalo (1899–1980). With an impressive and informative bi-lingual catalogue that includes high quality reproductions of nearly 280 photographs, it is worth trying to visit it at the City of Prague Museum, where it is still due to be on display. Sandalo is little known outside of the Czech Republic, but he is noteworthy as the author of an extensive portfolio of photographs of the modern architecture that was built in Brno in the 1920s and 1930s. Almost single-handedly, he shaped the present-day image of the city as a major centre of central European modernism. This exhibition is important, not only for its attention to an oeuvre of great significance for Brno and Czechoslovak interwar culture, but also for the wider questions it raises about modern architecture and the role of photography in shaping how we see it.
The CRAACE (Continuity/Rupture: Art and Architecture in Central Europe 1918-1939) team is inviting applications from those interested in undertaking PhD research at the Department of Art History, Masaryk University, Brno.
Proposals are particularly encouraged from students with an interest in modernism from the first half of the 20th century, focusing on central and east-central Europe. This may be about topics in the history of art, design and architecture, art criticism and theory, as well as the historiography of art. Students will be able to write their research dissertation in English or Czech.
Successful candidates will receive a studentship of CZK 24,000 per month. They will also be eligible for additional support in meeting research costs.
The submission period for applications is: 1 August – 30 November 2020, for enrolment in Spring 2021.
Applicants will need to apply to Masaryk University through the usual application procedure, including a formal research proposal. The details can be found here: https://www.phil.muni.cz/en/studies/doctoral-degree-study-programme/how-to-apply
Successful applicants will be expected to register for the programme by 1 March 2021. Funding will be available until the end of 2023.
For an initial informal discussion, please contact: Prof. Matthew Rampley, firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on the CRAACE project can be found here: https://craace.com
For more information on the Department of Art History see here: https://arthistory.phil.muni.cz/
‘The most important elements of modern architecture? Hygiene: air, light, cleansing, airing, heating, artificial lighting.’
With these words the Czech architect and critic Oldřich Starý (1884-1971) sought to identify the central features of the most progressive architecture in the 1920s. Starý’s claim clearly should be viewed in the context of interwar architectural thinking in Czechoslovakia. However, at the time of writing in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic has already cost tens of thousands of people their lives, and has brought advanced economies across the globe to a grinding halt, Starý’s belief in hygiene may well be the object of a renewed interest.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Max Dvořák the Institute of Art History of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague is staging a conference in 2021 on the legacy of the Vienna School of Art History. Click here for the call for papers.
Max Dvořák (1874-1921) was a pioneer of what has subsequently been referred to as ‘art history as the history of ideas’ (Geistesgeschichte). Where art historians had previously been primarily concerned with the evolution of art’s formal languages (the history of style) or with purely factual information about the production of artworks and the lives of the artists who made them, Dvořák sought to anchor the interpretation of artworks in an understanding of the broader cultural and intellectual currents of their time. He stopped short of espousing a social history of art, but he certainly saw the importance of cultural history for the analysis of works of art. Dvořák has since been criticised for relying too much on vague generalisations about the history of ideas as the background to art, but there is no denying that his essays and lectures, especially those published posthumously in the volume Art History as the History of Ideas (Munich, 1924), were enormously influential on younger generations of art historians, who sometimes argued with each other over how best to preserve his legacy.
Our conference In the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire: Art and Architecture in Interwar Central Europe will take place in Brno from 12 to 14 September 2019.
The schedule which includes the names of the speakers and titles of their papers can be downloaded here: In the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire Conference Schedule
The conference is free to attend, but you need to register. Click here for the registration form.
Some practical information:
Brno has an international airport but you may find better connections from Vienna, Prague and Bratislava. All are linked to Brno via coach (direct coach from Vienna airport) and train. Please note that if you arrive in Brno by train, you will need to get off at “Dolní nádraží” as the main station is closed for reconstruction.
Getting around Brno is easy by public transport (trams, buses, trolley buses) as well as on foot.
Some hotels near the conference venue:
Hotel Continental, from 68 EUR per night
Hotel Slavia from 80 EUR per night
Hotel International from 78 EUR per night
Hotel Grandezza from 140EUR per night
Grand Hotel Brno from 120EUR per night
Hotel Barceló from 104 EUR per night
There’s an introductory article in the Independent outlining the main sights, while more substantial guides are provided by the Brno Tourist office. The guide to functionalist architecture in Brno is also a useful start for any modernism enthusiast.