8 - History and Theory of Arts and Media II

This course is part of the programme
Bachelor's programme in Digital Arts and Practices

Objectives and competences

  • Studying the key characteristics of fine arts, visual and digital arts from their historical origins until today. Studying the periods of the history of art, different directions, movements, spiritual-historical development and art-historical development. Ability to recognise works of art and connect them in relation to the timeline and concepts;
  • encouraging students to reflect on connections among different forms of art through a historical perspective;
  • studying the specific styles and periods of the history of fine arts (the 20 century and the first decade of the 21 century) with reference to the theoretical questions which the rhe works of art, the world of art or a wider cultural context have posed within a particular period;
  • ability to discern characteristics of the key historical works of art, and knowledge of technological development; application, by means of an analytical process, of theoretical knowledge to one's own work.
  • studying the key theories and interpretations of contemporary arts since the historical Avantgarde period until the modern times, and ability to use the knowledge in a written assignment;
  • understanding these theories and interpretations, and ability to apply them when evaluating a particular work, opus, or time period.

Within the module, the students will be able to obtain the following general competences: * analytic and synthetic skills; * ability to apply the obtained knowledge in practice; * development of critical and self-critical evaluations; * ability to use critical arguments to present and defend one's own viewpoints, and consider the viewpoints of one's colleagues; * mastering research methodologies, procedures and processes; * autonomy in one's own professional work.


General education and secondary school knowledge in the field of history of fine arts, philosophy, literature, and music. Knowledge acquired in year one (History and theory of art and media I).


History and theory of art and media module consists of three types of contents:
a) historical contents encompass a wider field of art and are based on comparisons and parallels among different types of art and artistic directions; these contents include Comparative history of art amd History of art in the 20 century;
b) historical-critical contents in the fields of film, animation, photography and new media are carried out as theoretical lectures, supported by an analysis of historically significant works of a particular period;
c) critical-theoretical contents rely on a critical theory of contemporary arts and media, which, via the theory of art and works' analysis, involves students into a critical dialogue and encourages them to critically reflect on their own work.

Historical contents include a chronological overview of the development of the history of art from its beginnings (paleolithic period) to the present days (contemporary art); seeking of analogies, connections among different forms of art and periods within them.
Content units in year two: * History of art in 20 century; * Critical theory of art and media II; * Historical-critical contents in film studies, animation, photography and new media II.

20 century history of art: the history of art in the 20 century is, within the vertical line of the Slovene educational system, often overlooked, which has resulted in a poor knowledge of the historical period both among the professional art audiences and prospective students of art and history of art. So here one would need to patch up the potential lack of knowledge which, in our view, should be considered a form of general education acquired in one's secondary education. The lectures will commence with the 19 century, as this century was instrumental for creating practices and institutions that are present in the field of art up to the present days. We aim to cover the key concepts such as: artistic genius, artistic freedom, development of the concept of taste, museum, romanticism, modernism, and the like. In the 20 century: the avantguards, development of abstract art, development of conceptual art, art directions and practices after World War II (performance, new media, post-conceptual art, etc). Last but not least, the module will consider the introduction of the new technologies and media into art, and development of film and performative arts, which are in a continual dialogue with fine arts and visual art.

The critical theory of contemporary arts and media unites a presentation of the key theories and interpretations of contemporary art, that is, of the art in the second half of the 20 century and the first decade of the 21 century. This teaching unit aims to critically present the key issues related to contemporary art, from Greenberg's critical theories of late modernism to the so called institutional theory. At the same time, it is concerned with a historical view of the issues such as stylistic analyses, iconology, structuralism and semiotics, and sociological history of art. It also touches upon the questions of form and conceptual art, art as philosophy, ending of art and postmodern approaches (neo-marxisim, deconstruction, feminisim) and the institutional theory of art. A special section of lectures will be dedicated to local theories and interpretations of art.
We are concerned with a chronological overview of the origins and development of particular theories in the 20 century and early 21 century as well as with a critical evaluation of the beginnings, development and existence of certain approaches towards art within a specific historical moment. In year two, the module is concerned with a chronologicla overview and presentation of the key theories and interpretations of art in Europe and the United States from the 1980s up to the present day; and a chronological overview and presentation of key theories and interpretations of art in Slovenia from the end of World War II to the present day.
Historical-critical contents: history of a particular field of art and media; history of technological development within a particular field and of historically significant works of art. The important part of the contents is dedicated to analyses of works of art, comparisons with contemporary works, and development of critical thinking related to a respective field.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Knowledge of the developmental logic of fine arts and ability to connect other forms of art (music, literature, film, photography, etc) into a wholesome picture of art as developed through history;
  • understanding the processes of dynamics inherent in art development and of intercultural connections existing among the different types of art;
  • knowledge of the developmental logic of interpretations and the theory of contemporary arts;
  • ability to discern specific possibilities and aspects of interpretation and thinking about contemporary art, and ability to apply knowledge to a particular piece of art, opus or time period;
  • understanding the origins, development and rule of particular theories;
  • ability to interpret, reflect, evaluate, compare and synthesise fine arts, literary, music, photographic, audio-visual, performative works, particular pieces of art, opuses or time periods within the history of fine arts, visual and digital arts; also, ability to find parallels with other forms of arts.


  • Belting, Hans: Antropologija podobe: Osnutki znanosti o podobi. Ljubljana: Studia humanitatis, 2004. Catalogue
  • Gombrich, Ernst: The Story of Art. London: Phaidon 1995. Catalogue Catalogue E-version
  • Weidemar J., Horst, Antony F. Janson: History of Art. London: Thames and Hudson 2001.
  • Prassel, Igor: Filmografija slovenskega animiranega filma 1952-2012. Ljubljana: Slovenska kinoteka, 2012. Catalogue
  • Bendazzi, Giannalberto: Animation: A World History. Vol. I-III. Routledge, 2017. Catalogue E-version2
  • Bendazzi, Giannalberto: Cartoons, One Hundred Years of Animation. Indiana University Press, 1994. Catalogue E-version
  • Barthes, Roland: Camera Lucida: Zapiski o fotografiji. Ljubljana: Studia humanitatis, 2004. Catalogue E-version
  • Sontag, Susan: Pogled na bolečino drugega. Ljubljana: Sophia, 2006. Catalogue
  • Sontag, Susan: O fotografiji. Ljubljana: Študentska založba, 2001. Catalogue
  • Bordwell, David, Kristin Thompson: Zgodovina filma. Ljubljana: Umco in Slovenska kinoteka, 2010. Catalogue
  • Cook, Pam: Knjiga o filmu. Ljubljana: Umco in Slovenska kinoteka, 2008. Catalogue
  • Bazin, André: Kaj je film? Ljubljana: Kino, 2010. Catalogue
  • Berger, John: Načini gledanja. Ljubljana: Zavod Emanat, 2008. (Berger, John: Ways of Seeing, based on the BBC television series, BBC and Penguin Books, London 1972.) Catalogue
  • Franscina, Francis and Harris, Jonathan (ur.): Art in Modern Culture. An Antology of Critical Texts. London: Press Limited, 1992. Catalogue E-version
  • Praznik, Katja: Paradoks neplačanega umetniškega dela. Avtonomija umetnosti, avantgarda in kulturna politika na prehodu v postsocializem. Ljubljana: Sophia, 2016. (Praznik, Katja. Art Work: Invisible Labour and the Legacy of Yugoslav Socialism. Toronto ; Buffalo ; London: University of Toronto Press, 2021.) Catalogue

Recommended reading:

  • Frizot, Michel et al. (ur.): A new History Of Photography. Konemann, 1998. Catalogue E-version
  • Daney, Serge: Filmski spisi. Ljubljana: Slovenska kinoteka, 2001. Catalogue
  • Dolmark, Jože: Tkanje pogledov: Slovenska kinoteka, 2012. Catalogue
  • Filmska enciklopedija. Zagreb: Jugoslovenski leksikografski zavod, 1986-1990. Catalogue
  • Kavčič, Bojan, Zdenko Vrdlovec: Filmski leksikon. Ljubljana: Modrijan, 1999. Catalogue
  • Gianetti, Louis: Razumeti film. Ljubljana: Umco, 2009.
  • Siegfried Kracauer: Ornament množice: eseji. Ljubljana: Založba Cf, 2021. Catalogue (v nemščini)
  • Siegfried Kracauer: Filmska čitanka. Ljubljana: Slovenska kinoteka, 2017. Catalogue
  • Posamezni zvezki (o filmskih avtorjih) zbirke KINOTEČNI ZVEZKI, Ljubljana: Slovenska kinoteka.


Theoretical assignment 50%, Examination 50%

Lecturer's references

KRISTINA PRANJIĆ defended her doctoral thesis at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, on the concept of objectless sound and image in the artistic experiments of the Russian Avant-garde (2018). She conducted research in the fields of avant-garde art and literature, intermedia art and aesthetics at the Universität Konstanz, the University of Belgrade, and the Université Paris 8, and was a visiting lecturer at the Alpen-Adria-Universität in Klagenfurt. She has also devoted herself to new cultural, artistic and social phenomena as a journalist and critic. Currently Pranjić is a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Media in Ljubljana.