History and Now

The Faculty of Fine Arts (FFA) of Brno University of Technology (BUT) is the oldest art faculty at a non-artistic university in the Czech Republic, established on January 1, 1993, by a resolution of the Academic Senate of BUT from November 24, 1992, with the approval of the Accreditation Commission of the Czech Republic government. The FFA is historically the first of the art faculties that emerged as a desirable counterweight to educational and cultural centralism.

The FFA in brief

Brief history of the faculty

The Faculty of Fine Arts is a constituent of Brno University of Technology. Local art communities had been advocating for the establishment of an art academy in Moravia since the early 18th century. The tradition of art education at BUT can be traced back to 1899 with the inception of the Institute of Drawing. The institute's first professor was academic painter Hanuš Schwaiger (1854–1912). Upon Schwaiger’s departure for the Prague Academy, he was succeeded by Felix Jenewein (1857–1905). When the architectural studio gained independence in 1919, the training there was divided into figurative drawing and landscape drawing. Josef Šíma (1891–1971) and Jaroslav Král (1883–1942) also briefly contributed to its history. The post-war era marked the onset of a new tradition for the Brno Institute of Drawing and Modeling. Sculptor Vincent Makovský (1900–1966) was appointed as the associate professor of modeling in 1945. He established his studio in the building on Rybářská Street in Old Brno, which later became the premises for the Faculty of Fine Arts from 1993 until November 2016. The FFA is now located in the historical buildings of Brno's former German Technical University at 53 Údolní Street.

The concept of a Moravian art college had surfaced several times during the 20th century. After 1989, despite an initial lack of coordination, multiple groups of intellectuals and artists in Brno revisited this idea. The decisive initiative stemmed from the re-established artistic association Sdružení Q, with the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Ivan Ruller, playing a pivotal role. In 1992, Professor Ivan Ruller founded the Institute of Drawing and Modeling within the Faculty of Architecture at BUT. This became the foundation of the Faculty of Fine Arts, which officially started operating on January 1, 1993. Professor and sculptor Vladimír Preclík was elected as its first dean. The FFA initiated the study programme of fine arts with the following fields of study: sculpture, painting, drawing and printmaking, visual communication design, process-concept-action, and electronic multimedia creation (video art). The first cohort of 45 students received their education across six studios.

The Sculpture Studio was headed by Professor Vladimír Preclík, the Painting Studio by Associate Professor Miroslav Štolfa, the Process-Concept-Action Studio by Associate Professor Dalibor Chatrný, the Studio of Visual Communications Design by academic painter Jan Rajlich Sr., and the Video Art Studio by academic painter Radek Pilař. The sixth studio, the Drawing and Printmaking Studio, was led by academic painter Ivan Kříž, who was subsequently replaced by James Janíček. After the departure of Associate Professor Štolfa, the Painting Studio was managed by academic painter Radoslav Kutra from Olomouc; since 1995, it has been directed by Professor Jiří Načeradský. Following the untimely death of Radek Pilař, the Video Art Studio was taken over by sculptor and performer Tomáš Ruller, who transformed it into the Video-Multimedia-Performance Studio. Later on, Woody Vašulka, a native of Brno and a globally renowned pioneer in the field of electronic media who resides in the United States, served as a visiting professor in the studio. After the departure of Associate Professor Dalibor Chatrný, Slovak conceptualist Professor Peter Rónai took over as head of the Conceptual Tendencies Studio. In the academic year 1994/1995, an additional studio was added to the existing six professional studios – the Product Design Studio, led by academic sculptor Zdeněk Zdařil.

The Department of Art History and Theory was established by Professor Igor Zhoř, who initially also headed the department. Subsequent department heads included Associate Professor PhDr. Josef Maliva, PhDr. Pavel Ondračka, Mgr. Blahoslav Rozbořil, Associate Professor PhDr. Petr Spielmann, and PhDr. Kaliopi Chamonikola, Ph.D. The current department head is Associate Professor Mgr. Jan Zálešák, Ph.D. Another significant figure associated with the Department of Art History and Theory since its inception is architectural theorist Professor PhDr. Jan Sedlák, CSc.

Prominent theorist Igor Zhoř succeeded Vladimír Preclík as dean in 1997. He broadened the scope of art theory and history education in terms of content and personnel. This expansion was reflected in the division of diploma theses into an artistic part and a theoretical part, which was only replaced by an oral exam after 2010. Under Professor Zhoř, the Graphic Design Studio was incorporated into the Paper and Book Studio led by Associate Professor MVDr. Jiří H. Kocman, who remained its leader until 2011. After the sudden passing of Professor Igor Zhoř in 1998, Associate Professor Tomáš Ruller was elected as dean and he significantly broadened the array of study programme specializations. In 1998 and 1999, he increased the number of studios to thirteen and brought on more educators. The newly recruited teachers who accompanied the faculty's reform included new media theorist Keiko Sei from Japan and American artist Barbara Benish. After the prematurely concluded tenure of Tomáš Ruller as dean, Professor PhDr. Jan Sedlák, CSc., held the position of faculty dean from 2000 to 2004, followed by Associate Professor PhDr. Petr Spielmann, dr.h.c., from 2004 to 2007. Both deans continued to enhance study programme specializations. Professor and academic sculptor Michal Gabriel served as faculty dean from 2007 to 2011. Associate Professor MgA. Milan Houser succeeded him as dean from 2011 to 2018. In late 2016, the FFA relocated to the historical premises of BUT at 53 Údolní Street. Associate Professor MgA. Filip Cenek took over as dean of the FFA in 2019.

The faculty today

Having an art faculty incorporated into a technical university is uncommon even internationally and remains unique in the Czech Republic to this day. Bearing this in mind, a field-based composition has also been established: the disciplines taught integrate the latest technologies with the objective of fusing art and technology. Within the offered fields of fine art, applied art, and contemporary tendencies, the FFA encompasses the full spectrum of contemporary arts. The Department of Art History and Theory also contributes through theoretical lectures on art history, aesthetics, philosophy, sociology, and a variety of elective courses based on studio needs. At present, the FFA maintains 17 studios. The field of design is represented by Graphic Design Studios 1 and 2, the Product Design Studio, and the Game Design Studio. The realm of intermedia and art creation is represented by the Environment Studio, Performance Studio, Video Studio, Intermedia Studio, Photography Studio, Multimedia Studio, Body Design Studio, Sculpture Studio, Spatial Design Studio, Painting Studios 1, 2 and 3, and the Drawing and Printmaking Studio. In 2019, the FFA initiated the Visiting Artist’s Studio. Each semester, the FFA invites recognized artists from abroad to collaborate with its students. The artistic profiles of the guest artists vary to ensure a broad range of art and design studies offered at the FFA. Students of the bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. programmes can enroll. The faculty also provides its graduates with the opportunity to partake in the Visiting Artist’s Studio programme as a form of lifelong learning. The tasks related to education and technology are supported by the Department of Audiovisual Technology, the Department of Design, the Department of Traditional Media (known as the Department of Evening Drawings until 2018), and the Department of 3D Technology, which also includes the 3D Studio, established in 2007 as the first of its kind in the Czech Republic.

The FFA offers a four-year bachelor's programme, a two-year master's programme, and a four-year doctoral programme. From 2022/23, it also offers a two-year master's programme in English. Upon successful programme completion, students are awarded internationally recognized degrees BcA. (Baccalaureus Artis), MgA. (Magister Artis), or Ph.D. The FFA is a highly selective educational institution, where the number of applicants for study exceeds the number of accepted candidates manifold every year. The FFA celebrated its first master's degree graduates in 1998 and currently boasts over seventeen hundred graduates from its bachelor's (more than 840), master's (834), and doctoral (42) programmes. A significant number of FFA's graduates successfully contribute to the art scene in the Czech Republic and abroad. The FFA maintains ties with a range of art faculties and academies through various exchanges, collaborations, and educational programmes. Students have the opportunity to consult at any studio during their studies. They can participate in classes in another studio as part of a semester internship, or permanently transfer. In doing so, they understand the interconnection of the disciplines and gain the opportunity for alternative careers in society. During art education, emphasis is placed on the professional mastery of not only the craft and technological aspects of creation. Regular presentations of schoolwork allow students to confront their work publicly and establish contacts with gallerists, curators, and collectors. In this regard, significant support is provided by the FFA Gallery, a lively communication space for the emerging generation of artists and an experimental laboratory for open dialogue between the academic environment and the public.

List of Deans

  • 1/1993 – 6/1997

    Vladimír Preclík

  • 7/1997 – 11/1997

    Igor Zhoř

  • 2/1998 – 6/2000

    Tomáš Ruller

  • 12/2000 – 1/2004

    Jan Sedlák

  • 2/2004 – 1/2007

    Petr Spielmann

  • 2/2007 – 1/2011

    Michal Gabriel

  • 2/2011 – 1/2019

    Milan Houser

  • FROM 2/2019

    Filip Cenek

List of Vice-Deans

  • Irena Armutidisová, Vice-Dean for Creative Activities and External Relations (5/2007 – 12/2013)
  • Richard Fajnor, Vice-Dean for Study Affairs (4/2004 – 11/2008), Vice-Dean for International Relations (12/2008 – 12/2010)
  • Michal Gabriel, Vice-Dean for Strategic Development (3/2011 – 6/2012)
  • Vladimír Havlík, In charge of External Affairs (7/1999 – 6/2002)
  • Milan Houser, Vice-Dean for Premisses Reconstruction Management (5/2019 – 1/2022)
  • Katarína Hládeková, Vice-Dean for Study Affairs (7/2019 – 8/2022, from 10/2023)
  • Kaliopi Chamonikola, Vice-Dean for Study Affairs (9/2022 – 9/2023)
  • Jiří H. Kocman, Vice-Dean for Creative Activities and External Relations (9/1998 – 6/1999, 6/2002 – 2/2007)
  • Pavel Korbička, Vice-Dean for Creative Activities and External Relations (1/2014 – 5/2019)
  • Jana Kořínková, Vice-Dean for Scientific Research and Quality Assurance (10/2018 – 10/2020)
  • Lenka Klodová, Vice-Dean for Artistic Research and Development (5/2019 – 8/2023), Vice-Dean for Development and External Relations (9/2023 – 12/2023)
  • Tomáš Medek, Vice-Dean for Premisses Reconstruction Management (2/2022 – 8/2023), Vice-Dean for Infrastructure (from 9/2023)
  • Vladimír Merta, In charge of Creative Activities (7/1999 – 6/2000)
  • Jiří Načeradský, Vice-Dean for External Relations and Creative Activities (5/1996 – 6/1997)
  • Pavel Ondračka, Vice-Dean for Study Affairs (2/1998 – 4/2004, 12/2008 – 8/2018), Vice-Dean for Strategic Development (4/2004 – 1/2007), Vice-Dean for International Relations (5/2007 – 11/2008)
  • Ladislav Jackson, Vice-Dean for International Relations (9/2020 – 8/2023), Vice-Dean for Internationalization (from 9/2023)
  • Pavel Luffer, Vice-Dean for Academic and Personnel Matters (4/1994 – 1/1998)
  • Barbora Lungová, Vice-Dean for International Relations (7/2012 – 8/2020)
  • Keiko Sei, In charge of External Affairs (9/1998 – 6/1999)
  • Jiří Sobotka, Vice-Dean for External Relations and Creative Activities (10/1993 – 4/1996, 7/1997 – 9/1998)
  • Barbora Šedivá, Vice-Dean for Development and External Relations (from 1/2024)
  • Lenka Veselá, Vice-Dean for Artistic Research and Publication Activity (from 9/2023)
  • Petr Veselý, In charge of Relocation (9/1992 – 9/1993), Vice-Dean for Academic and Personnel Matters (10/1993 – 3/1994)
  • Jan Zálešák, Vice-Dean for Study Affairs (10/2018 – 6/2019)
  • Zdeněk Zdařil, Vice-Dean for Premisses Reconstruction Management (7/1997 – 1/2011)
  • Markéta Žáčková, Vice-Dean for Scientific Research and Quality Assurance (from 3/2021)


On January 1, 1993, the Faculty of Fine Arts of Brno University of Technology began its operations and found it necessary to establish its symbolic identity. Chief among these symbols were the insignia – badges that denote the rank, dignity, and authority of academic dignitaries. They not only carry deep symbolism and tradition but also serve as the primary representative elements for any faculty and university. The most revered of these insignia in academia include the seal, the rector's and dean's maces, and honorary academic chains with accompanying medals.

The FFA's range of symbols includes insignia, robes, a seal, fanfares, and a logo. Materials associated with these symbols reside in the BUT Archive. On January 18, 1993, the first dean of FFA, Vladimír Preclík, commissioned their creation. The FFA insignia are notable for their distinctive design. They include a mace and ceremonial brooches for both the dean and vice-deans. The mace is designed with vertical and horizontal elements, symbolizing the confluence of rational and intuitive thought. Crowning the golden vertical is a crystal, considered the most potent and pure of all stones. The mace is fashioned from gilded brass, silver, crystal, and ash. The dean and vice-deans' ceremonial brooches, inspired by the art of the Great Moravian Empire, are circular. The dean's brooch has a diameter of 140 mm, while the vice-deans' measure 110 mm. Each brooch bears the inscription 'Fakulta výtvarných umění VUT v Brně'. Composed of silver, gilded silver, and lapis lazuli, these brooches serve as an alternative to the traditional honorary academic chains with medals and are affixed to the cotton lining of the robes. Lucie Nepasická was the designer behind these insignia, with the Kovotepecká workshop of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague taking the lead in production, alongside collaborators such as Soluna Praha, Truhlář & Patka, Radost, and Stone Polishing Mr Haken.

During ceremonial academic events, the dean, vice-deans, and beadle of the faculty don robes. Designed as long cloaks of blue woollen fabric with shawl collars and dark grey cotton linings, the dean's robe stands out with its silver-fringed collar. Accompanying the robes are dark grey, spiral-shaped caps that culminate in a frontal shield, with the dean's cap distinguished by a thin gold trim. These robes were the vision of Monika Drápalová, brought to life by PragStudia.

The faculty's seal, which also inspires a related stamp, is round and features a modest state emblem of the Czech Republic. This is surrounded by the text 'Vysoké učení technické v Brně' and 'Fakulta výtvarných umění'. This seal validates crucial documents and ceremonially enforces rights or obligations within the faculty's purview. The associated stamp, which can have a diameter of 20, 25, or 36 mm, is crafted from rubber and leaves an imprint in black ink. The faculty can commission various such stamps, each of which must be sequentially numbered and catalogued. The dean oversees the use of these stamps.

During FFA's academic ceremonies, attendees are treated to fanfares, the work of renowned Brno musicologist Miloš Štědroň. He composed the current version for three trombones and percussion instruments in 2020 at the request of the dean of the faculty so that the fanfares could be performed live.

Responsibility: doc. MgA. Filip Cenek