History and Philosophy of Modern Art in Central Europe

Freie Universität Berlin

Course Description

  • Course Name

    History and Philosophy of Modern Art in Central Europe

  • Host University

    Freie Universität Berlin

  • Location

    Berlin, Germany

  • Area of Study

    Art History, History, Philosophy, Visual Arts

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    This course surveys the visual arts in Central Europe from the rise of modernism around 1900 to the present after postmodernism, with a strong focus on German art.
    Its objectives are:

    • To study the individual works closely and interpret them critically by analyzing their formal structure, style and technique, iconography, etc.
    • To consider the intentions of the artists who created them.
    • To place the works against their wider historical, political, economic, social, and cultural backgrounds as well as within the international development of the visual arts in Western Europe and - for the second half of the 20th century - the U.S.

    A consideration of the theoretical context is of particular importance for the understanding of 20th-century art and its role in society. Thus the course will also introduce students to major philosophical ideas of the period and will focus on various links to the visual art works including reflections on the methods which art historians have found appropriate in studying the objects and ideas which constitute their discipline. Berlin houses some of the most splendid art collections in the world, such as the Neue Nationalgalerie, the Hamburger Bahnhof (with the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection), the Kupferstichkabinett (Graphic Arts), the Brücke-Museum, and the Bauhaus-Archiv, not to mention the collections of ancient art.

    In addition, a vibrant scene of art galleries provides new perspectives on contemporary art that has not yet been established in the museums. An essential approach of the course will be to work not only with slides and text sources in class but also with the originals during excursions to different museums. Thus the specific material qualities of the art works discussed in class will be experienced in front of the originals. This can serve as an eye-opener for understanding the reasoning and the artistic procedure of the artists in their respective period.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations