About the Institute
Lectures in art history at the University of Warsaw were initiated in 1917 by professor Zygmunt Batowski. The first Chair of Art History, which was later transformed into the Institute of Art History, was originally located on Krakowskie Przedmieście Street, in the former rectory building, erected in 1816 by Jakub Kubicki, and rebuilt in 1861 by Antoni Sulimowski. Administratively, the Institute forms a part of the Faculty of Culture and Arts (before September 2020 part of the Faculty of History).
Already in the ancient Greece the lives of the artists and their works were studied and described for posterity. However, art history as a scientific discipline was pioneered at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. Around the mid-19th century the first departments of art history were established together with institutions connected with the field, such as museums, galleries, research institutes, institutions dealing with art documentation, protection and conservation of monuments, academic and artistic publications, auction houses.
Full-time and part-time bachelor’s and master’s degrees offered by the Institute of Art History focus on the visual arts, architecture and urban planning, decorative arts, as well as on the modern and contemporary visual media including photography and film. Fieldwork, gallery visits and museum internships are among the key components of the curriculum. In recent years, study trips organised by the Institute have taken place in various regions of Poland, as well as abroad.
As part of its academic and teaching activities, the Institute cooperates with many cultural institutions, museums and galleries. Its scientific partners include the National Museum in Warsaw and Zachęta National Gallery of Art. The Institute’s staff is involved in various initiatives aimed at increasing awareness of art and its history among wider audiences. A recent collaboration, initiated in 2017, with the Mazovia Institute of Culture, promotes the artistic heritage of the region.