Contemporary art history regards the visual dimension of nearly everything that humankind has created as its object of study. Art, photography, film as well as print media, advertising, television and the internet – all these fields create and use pictures and images to various ends. Images can be a source for aesthetic pleasure or regarded as historic documents; they can convey information or manipulate us. Some images do it all at once. A similar significance is characteristic of the spaces and material environments that surround us, and affect and model our everyday lives.

The Art History and Visual Culture programme lays the groundwork for understanding the associations between pictorial and spatial environment and their functioning in society. Art history and theory help us to understand and appreciate art, along with the society and values that created it. The study of art, architecture and design gives us a framework for understanding both the past and the future, and provides us with a wider critical perspective for independent critical thinking.

Through various theoretical subjects, practical training and study trips, students at the Institute of Art History and Visual Culture learn to critically view and analyse the world of past and contemporary images and architecture that surrounds us. Art history and theory are taught in the context of cultural theory and social history. The curriculum also provides a broad general education in humanities.

 The following curricula are offered at Institute of Art History and Visual Culture:
Art History and Visual Culture studies BA (Estonian-language)
Art History and Visual Culture studies MA (Estonian-language), including specializations in Museology MA and Curatorial Studies MA

Literature, Visual Culture and Film Studies MA (English-language curriculum in cooperation with the Tallinn University School of Humanities)
Art History and Visual Culture studies PhD (Estonian-language)

Art History at the Estonian Academy of Arts
The function of the Institute of Art History and Visual Culture at EAA is to train specialists in the field of research and curatorship in art history and visual and spatial culture. The Institute’s students maintain a close contact with the students studying the various other art disciplines, and, early on, develop a good understanding of contemporary art. A number of subjects and practical training courses are shared with students in the Cultural Heritage and Conservation programme. In order to expand the choice of available subjects related to the humanities, the Institute cooperates closely with the Institutes of Humanities and History at Tallinn University.

Studying at the Institute of Art History and Visual Culture is enriched by the contributions of highly esteemed visiting teaching staff and guests in our open lecture series. Among others, the following have taught electives at the Institute: Prof Keith Moxey (Barnard College, Columbia University) and Prof Michael Anne Holly (Clark Art Institute); Prof Matthew Rampley (University of Birmingham); Prof James Elkins (Chicago Art Institute); Prof Beat Wyss (Karlsruhe); Prof Altti Kuusamo (University of Turku) and Dr Tutta Palin (University of Turku), Prof Griselda Pollock (University of Leeds), Prof Kenneth Frampton (Columbia University).

What skills will I acquire?

  • to look critically at and analyse art, architecture and design;
  • to see the interconnectedness of art, history, society and culture;
  • to ask relevant and critical questions about culture and society;
  • to talk and write about art, architecture and design;
  • to make art understandable to a variety of audiences;
  • to research and work with archives;
  • to express verbally yourself verbally and textually.

What jobs will be available after I graduate?

  • experts and researchers specialised in art or architecture;
  • museum and gallery curators;
  • writers and editors specialised in art, architecture or design;
  • teachers of art history.