Vojtěch Birnbaum: The Principle of Art

12 Jan – 7 Mar 2017

On the occasion of the 140th anniversary of the birth of Vojtěch Birnbaum (1877–1934), the Art Archive presents this important Czech art historian and pioneer of scientific exploration of art. He is seen as the founder of research into Czech art, especially in the area of Medieval architecture, and someone who was capable of a scientific perspective on a European level. In professional circles, he is similarly appreciated for historical preservation activities, primarily involving efforts to preserve the context of works of art.

Vojtěch Birnbaum: The Principle of Art focuses on Birnbaum’s thoughts regarding the laws and principles of art, particularly as he observed and described them during the 1920s and 1930s. Vojtěch Birnbaum’s position as a theoretician focused on questions of development of art in the more general sense of the word had long remained outside the scope of interest of professional circles. 

This exhibit thus aims to examine precisely this area of Birnbaum’s work, which seems to be fundamental to comprehending his opinions regarding art, especially on the topic of Medieval architecture. The exhibition thus tracks the roots of Birnbaum’s theoretical work within the broader context of European art historical and philosophical thinking, as well as trying to intimate the effect of his formulation of “development” in art on the next generation of art historians that were formative personalities in the field.

Curator: Tomáš Murár

Opening: 12.1.2017