Art Studies Education

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Art Studies Education

 

a system for producing specialists in the theory and history of various arts (fine and applied art, architecture, music, the theater, and the cinema). Students are also taught art criticism in preparation for work in research institutes, higher educational institutions, unions of creative workers, museums, and theaters, as well as in the press, radio, television, and other cultural and artistic institutions and organizations.

Art studies education in Russia was established between the mid-18th and the early 19th century. In 1756 some auxiliary disciplines dealing with art studies were included in the curriculum of Moscow University. Beginning in 1804 courses on the theory of fine art were taught in the department of philology. The first subdepartment of art history in Russia was organized at the university in 1857. The first department of the history and theory of art came into existence there in 1907.

Before the revolution, courses on the history and theory of the arts included the study of the history of world art and the fundamental properties of different artistic media. Modern art was not studied. Specialists in the history and theory of music and the theater were not trained in pre-revolutionary Russia. As a rule, only musicians who had been educated in musical composition studied the history and theory of music. Theater and literary critics, playwrights, and actors usually studied the theory and history of theatrical arts and, in the early 20th century, cinematographic theory.

After the Great October Revolution of 1917, a number of Soviet universities and higher artistic institutions organized departments of art studies for instruction in the history and theory of the fine arts. The training of specialists in the history and theory of music, the theater, and the cinema was also organized. In 1920 the first department of the history of music in the country was organized at the Petrograd Institute of Arts. In the 1920’s musicologists were trained in the departments of composition at the Moscow and Leningrad conservatories. In the early 1930’s the conservatories established subdepartments of history and theory and set up independent historical and theoretical departments. In the 1940’s and 1950’s departments of musicology were established in all higher musical educational institutions.

From 1921 to 1930 higher courses of theater study were given at the Academy of Artistic Disciplines (now the Leningrad Institute of Theater, Music, and Cinematography). In 1931 the country’s first department of theater studies opened in the State Instituteof Theater Art (named for A. V. Lunacharskii in 1934). During the 1940’s and 1950’s departments of theater studies were created in several national theater institutes in Union republics. Higher education training of specialists in the cinema began in the 1930’s at the State Institute of Cinematography (since 1934, the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography). In 1945 a special department of cinematography was opened there, and in 1955, a department of screenwriting.

In 1972 several institutions engaged in the higher education of specialists in art studies. Specialists in the fine arts studied in Moscow, Leningrad, Tbilisi, and Ural universities (the last is located in Sverdlovsk); the Leningrad I. E. Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture; the Kiev Art Institute; the Art Institute of the Lithuanian SSR in Vilnius; the Academy of Arts of the Latvian SSR in Riga; the Tbilisi Academy of Arts; and the Tashkent Institute of Theater and Art. Musicologists were trained at conservatories, institutes of the arts, and pedagogical institutes of music (including the Moscow Gnesins Institute). Students of the theater attended the State Institute of Theater Art; the Leningrad Institute of Theater, Music, and Cinematography; the Kiev Institute of Theater Art; the Byelorussian Institute of Theater and Art in Minsk; the Tashkent Institute of Theater and Art; and the Azerbaijan Institute of Arts in Baku. Students of the cinema studied at the All-Union Institute of Cinematography and the Kiev Institute of Theater Arts. In the 1971–72 academic year more than 6,000 students were attending departments of art studies; more than 1,200 new students were admitted, and more than 1,000 specialists graduated.

Soviet art studies education aims to produce broadly educated Marxist art scholars, who specialize in classical and modern trends of both Soviet and foreign art. The curricula of departments of art studies include courses in sociopolitical and historical disciplines; aesthetics; theory and history of art (that art in which the student specializes and related arts); art history of the peoples of the USSR and of foreign countries; Russian, Soviet, and foreign literature; and foreign languages. An important place in the curricula is held by special courses and seminars on the theory and history of art, the principal problems of the development of modern Soviet and foreign art, and the theory and practice of art criticism. The students also do practical work. In seminars students choose their specializations and complete their preparation for independent scholarly, pedagogical, and literary work. The program for specialists in art studies lasts five years (evening and correspondence courses take six years). Studies end with state examinations and the defense of a graduation thesis.

The training of research and educational specialists in art theory and history takes place at the postgraduate level in several universities, in the largest higher educational art institutions and conservatories, in research institutes of the Ministry of Culture of the USSR, in the academies of sciences of Union republics, and in the academies of arts of the USSR. In 1971 the institutions at which doctoral dissertations on art studies could be defended included Moscow University; Leningrad University; the universities of Tbilisi and Vilnius; the Moscow Conservatory; the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography; the State Institute of Theater Art; the Leningrad I. E. Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture; the Institute of Art History of the Ministry of Culture of the USSR; the Institute of the Theory and History of Fine Art of the Academy of Arts of the USSR; the Institute of Art Studies, Folklore, and Ethnology of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR; and the department of social sciences of the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR. At the end of 1970, 12,200 scholars were employed in art studies, including 139 doctors of science and 1,262 candidates of science.

All specialized art institutions, several universities, and several pedagogical institutes have included courses on the theory and history of the arts in their curricula. Students receive elementary training in the history and theory of the arts at secondary schools of general education, at vocational and technical schools, and at secondary specialized educational institutions.

In other socialist countries art historians and critics are trained at universities, art academies, conservatories, and institutes. In the German Democratic Republic art scholars are taught the history and theory of the fine arts in the department of aesthetics and art studies at Humboldt University in Berlin. In Poland art scholars are trained in the subdepartments of art history at the departments of philosophy in the universities of Warsaw, Poznań, and Kraków; in Czechoslovakia they are trained at Prague University. Some socialist countries have created independent departments of theater studies in theater institutes—for example, in the theater institutes in Leipzig, Warsaw, Bucharest, and Sofia. The University of Warsaw has a department of cinema theory for training scholars of the cinema.

In capitalist countries, art studies education caters to the ruling classes. The training of historians and theoreticians in the fine arts and music is concentrated primarily in universities. Problems of the theory and history of the theater and the cinema are generally the concern of literary scholars or people who work in the theater and the cinema.

L. G. IL’INA and G. A. PELISOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.