Fine Arts as Means for Studying Media History

  • Tereza Ježková Charles University, Prague


Studying art as a manifestation of cultural memory can help us understand both collective and individual identities. Specific works of art can give us a sense of the artist while the content can also present a more general theme or social issue of a given era. Considering the number of artworks that reference (either as a major or minor topical element) mass communication, media seems to be a feasible theme. The topic of media and its specific appearances has varied significantly throughout the history of both art and media. The aim of this paper is to introduce a unique analysis that combines artworks that display the use of mass communication in Czech fine arts. The collected items were the subject of an interdisciplinary analysis – both historical and semiotic. So far, the relationship between media and art has not been explored within Czech media studies. Finding the connection between fine arts and the media can broaden the horizons of historical and social sciences. Representation of media by art points to the importance of media in any given historical period. Some examples can clearly show us how media were produced and consumed, as well as, in the later periods, used as a material for the creation or the art itself. The objective of this paper is to show the perspectives and limits of art as a source of knowledge about cultural memory and advantages and disadvantages of combining historical and semiotic analyses as applied to specific artworks.


[1] P. Bednařík, J. Jirák, and B. Köpplová, Dějiny českých médií: Od počátku do současnosti, 1st ed. Praha: Grada, 2011.

[2] A. Briggs and P. Burke, A social history of the media: from Gutenberg to the Internet, Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2002.

[3] A. Eell, A. Nünning and S. B. Young, Cultural memory studies: an international and interdisciplinary handbook. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2008.

[4] J. Hall, Slovník námětů a symbolů ve výtvarném umění, 2nd ed., V Pasece 1. Praha: Paseka, 2008.

[5] J.-L. Chalumeau, Přehled teorií umění, 1st ed., Praha: Portál, 2003.

[6] T. Ježková, Média v českém výtvarném umění, Praha: 2012, diploma theses, Charles University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism. Department of Media Studies, thesis supervisor: Doc. PhDr. Barbara Köpplová, CSc.

[7] J. Kulka, Psychologie umění, 2nd ed., Praha: Grada, 2008.

[8] R. Laabs, Nicht nur für den Tag: Vier Jahrhunderte Zeitung in der Kunst, Frankfurt am Main : Propylaen, 1987.

[9] M. Lurker, Slovník symbolů. Praha: Euromedia Group - Knižní klub, 2005.

[10] O. Macková, Ed. Karel Purkyně 1834-1868: Souborná výstava díla: Praha, duben 1962, Praha: Národní galerie, 1962.

[11] A. Manguel, Dějiny čtení, 1st ed., Brno: Host, 2007.

[12] J. Pavel, Dějiny umění v Československu. Stavitelství, sochařství, malířství, 2nd ed., Praha: Práce, 1978.

[13] D. Prokop, Obecná uměnověda: Stručný přehled a úvod, Praha: Gryf, 1994.

[14] I. Reifová, ed., Slovník mediální komunikace, 1st ed., Praha: Portál, 2004.

[15] Ústav dějin umění AV ČR, Dějiny českého výtvarného umění III/1 1780–1890, 1st ed., Praha: Academia, 2001.

[16] V. Volavka, Karel Purkyně, 1st ed., Praha: SNKLU, 1962.
How to Cite
JEŽKOVÁ, Tereza. Fine Arts as Means for Studying Media History. Култура/Culture, [S.l.], n. 10, p. 114-121, sep. 2015. ISSN 1857-7725. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 06 july 2020.
English Articles


Media History, Fine Arts, Media Reception, Newspaper, Press, Reader, Czech Art