Department of Art History

In Russian

Traditional art history is a fairly narrow discipline. In Russia, it has historically been the case that art historians study history, but much more rarely deal with the theory of painting, drawing, sculpture, and the decorative and applied arts, and with architecture only in exceptional circumstances. Theater, cinema, literature and music remain, as a rule, outside the curriculum. The department’s task is to train specialists capable of understanding different artistic idioms and codes, and facilitating a dialogue amongst them. The learning process in the department is thus organized so that the various fields of art reveal their mutual translatability.

We also strive to ensure that the specialists educated in our department are familiar with contemporary international art scholarship and capable, over time, of entering the international professional milieu.

Among the new directions in the department’s current program are visual studies and the social history of art.

Teachers and researchers

Vadim Bass

Dean, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History


Professor of the Department of Art History

Mikhail Piotrovsky

Founder, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Director, State Hermitage Museum

Events and news

Professor Catherine Phillips is one of the organizers of the round table discussion dedicated to the art of the XVIII century

In the eighteenth century, Russia emerged as a truly European power. Yet despite the presence of Russians in Europe and Europeans in Russia, the vast Russian Empire continued to be perceived as a quasi-oriental land. As a result, those artists and works of art that moved from West to East were – and sometimes still are — all too often seen as vanishing into a distant realm. This panel will highlight current research on the Russian art world and its engagement with Western Europe in the eighteenth century. Short presentations will examine the importance of the French tradition to St. Petersburg’s Imperial Academy of Arts, Russian artists’ travel to the Netherlands and Paris, Russian patronage of Venetian art, connections between Russian and British art as reflected in portraits by Rokotov and Gainsborough, and Russian collecting of classical antiquities.