Arsenal, September 18-20, 2020

The festival’s relevance can be explained by the necessity of bringing art and audience together. It’s here to help understand the language of art, to encourage reflection by fostering a discussion around professional texts on art ranging from academic studies to art journalism. The festival is named after Italian painter Giorgio Vasari from Arezzo (1511–1574), author of the first ever large-scale study about art and founder of the modern art history. Vasari Festival is designed for a wide range of audiences and readers.


2014 Vasari;
2015 New Ways of Culture;
2016 Architecture and Text;
2017 Classic Today;
2018 History of the Contemporary;
2019 Artist Statements;
2020 New? Art History?!

Book fair featuring leading Russian publishers specialising in the humanities and children’s books;
Intellectual platform with lectures, discussions, round tables and guided tours;
Concerts, plays and performances;
Seminars and workshops for children and their parents.


The festival will explore the ideas, practices and potential of contemporary art history. As a science, art history has undergone significant transformations over the past hundred years. Aesthetic, style, attribution and other important factual knowledge about an artwork have faded into the background, giving way to heuristic strategies that allow to see art and its place in society from new, often unexpected, perspectives: for example, environmental. The value perception of artists and trends has changed, and so have the status and meaning of art in human history. At Vasari 2020, we will look into the eyes of contemporary art history and try to understand what they tell us.

Together with experts, we will seek answers to questions like:

  • What is the definition of art today?
  • Do we have criteria that distinguish a good work from a bad one, great from ordinary?
  • Do we need a unified history of art, and is it possible to write it? How does the viewer’s demand affect the dissemination of art?
  • What did neuropsychological research, big data and marketing bring to art studies?
  • And most importantly, does art history need a living artist?

Draft Programme Vasari 2020

September 18. Think about Art
Conference to discuss the current state of art history as a science.

September 19. Do It for Art
A series of artist talks and open interviews with art critics, performance lectures and discussions dedicated to contemporary art history. Evening show.

September 20. Rest with Art History
Activities and entertainment themed around art studies. Games, mobile apps, quests.

The full programme is TBA.