Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Excursions and Cultural Heritage in the Contemporary World (Practice and Methodology of Art Criticism Analysis)

Written By

Tatiana Vasil’evna Portnova

Submitted: 12 May 2018 Reviewed: 03 July 2018 Published: 05 November 2018

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.79912

From the Edited Volume

Advanced Methods and New Materials for Cultural Heritage Preservation

Edited by Daniela Turcanu-Carutiu and Rodica-Mariana Ion

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Modern society is characterized by the desire for information saturation. The range of cultural and historical material from which art history excursions are drawn is truly boundless. Meanwhile, if we compare the number of excursions with all their well-thought-out structure, excursions of an art criticism will undoubtedly turn out to be a clear minority. In the fields of the excursion scenario, there are sometimes question marks left by the tourists. Art objects have their own criteria, specifics and features. To understand them and to comprehend them at the scientific and theoretical level is an actual task for art critics and critics themselves. This chapter highlights the problems of modern excursion work as a form of communication, which is a special system, the important elements of which are the author’s text, closely associated with the art criticism and the display of works of art in museums and in open spaces.


  • guide
  • art object
  • visual material
  • art criticism analysis
  • methods of updating information
  • museum collections
  • storage units
  • demonstration method
  • complex display
  • diachronic and synchronous approaches

1. Introduction

The modern world is dealing with all kinds of information, and its art objects can be no longer presented through a purely empirical, descriptive and documentary approach. This representation hinders observations and often makes them subjective. Thus, today’s guides aim to display visual materials from a creative and well-targeted viewpoint. Art criticism plays a crucial role in fulfilling this objective. Guided tours on art-related topics improve one’s artistic taste through a visual contact with authentic art pieces. They teach the history of culture and society and enrich the knowledge of our reality and its reflection in art, i.e. these forms of aesthetic education are among the most popular and effective. Each piece of art (whether it is a painting, architectural object, drawing, sculpture, handicraft object, etc.) is a kind of magnet that attracts the viewer’s attention and forms their aesthetic beliefs. Having completely opposite perspectives, they intertwine and define the functional orientation of art pieces, their ability to reveal themselves in works of art and be explained by these works and the analysis of their fulfilment of particular tasks. Artists usually have them in mind in order to realize their creative ideas. They are driven by a desire to convey something important to their viewers. If one wants to understand the social direction of some art piece, they should enter through this work the viewer’s mind and reveal methods of visual perception contained in this work.


2. Features of an art-related excursion

From the theoretical and practical viewpoint, there are several types of excursions based on the following classification: art criticism, theatre, literature and music. However, art-related tours are the most popular, widespread and highly demanded. It is an excursion when the audience examines paintings and sculptures in art museums and galleries, as well as architectural, walking and coach tours with a large amount of demonstrated art objects. We should note that architectural monuments are closely connected with their place of origin and historical chronicles of any given territory (country, town or locality).

City sites often comprise architectural objects of various eras, styles and functions. Almost every tour guide has to dwell upon certain issues of architecture and urban development. Handicraft-related tours also demonstrate a wide range of artistic objects. This group of excursions includes open-air ethnographic museum tours that are currently gaining more popularity and acknowledgment. These guided tours reflecting problems of social development are captured in folk art and the handicraft evolution of different nations in the past.

The architectural handicraft heritage comprises objects of architecture, sculptures, frescoes, mosaic and stained glass windows, paintings, stucco, woodwork, lattice, fences, balconies and other pieces of art.

We cannot but mention that objects relating to the art heritage are more attractive and accessible to tourists (people with different backgrounds) in comparison with other forms of art since visual information is easier to perceive. It is better to take into contact with some piece of art, see it with your own eyes and learn facts about it rather than receive this data from books, articles and other literary sources. Besides, an experienced tour guide with vast scientific experience can provide valuable and generalized information that has been gathered from many different sources and synthetized. Each form of art can influence listeners and viewers in the direct ideological or artistic manner. The degree of this impact depends on the tourist’s background knowledge, educational level, artistic taste, age and other factors that should be considered in the conducting of tours.

Art-related excursions can be of the following types: sightseeing, monographic (dedicated to creative works of one or more artists), thematic, organized by genre or some other principle.


3. The role of an art museum in the structure of an art-related excursion

The analysis of the corresponding artworks is the most significant element of these tours. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the profession of a guide is somewhat similar to that of an art critic due to quite understandable and close ties. Guides find art criticism very helpful because any art tour is based on a comprehensive review of paintings, drawings, sculptures and architectural monuments. This review should be conducted on a high level of art criticism so that each tourist properly understands the message of the chosen work and its value in the modern culture, as well as means and methods used by the author to convey the above-mentioned theme.

While conducting an excursion, a guide should decide what approach to use, i.e. themed, genre-specific, stylistic or forming. As a result, the review deals with different exhibits, with one piece of art involved in several themed tours. The artistic value of a museum’s collection or exhibition is the main criterion for selection. Collections of large museums around the globe (including the Hermitage Museum, the Vatican, the British Museum of Art, the Louvre in Paris, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, etc.) have a similar nature and quantity of storage units. However, each museum preserves its unique features despite the changes occurring over the centuries and even decades. It is due to not only the funds renewal but also different interpretations of the same exhibits held in a particular museum. Thus, the main difference between the modern Hermitage and the pre-revolutionary Hermitage is the kind of feeling it creates. Today, its exposition halls are filled with the spirit of history. They present the development of cultures and art forms around the world in their specific historical context and through the clash of various art movements. If painting, sculptures, handicrafts and drawings are displayed in a comprehensive way, it becomes possible to study different artistic phenomena of the chosen period in their interconnections. Special attention is paid to the identification of national artistic features expressed in any given country’s exhibition. For example, the Vatican museums have been enriching their vast collection of paintings and sculptures with outstanding exhibits for over 500 years. Starting as the city-state and residence of popes in the late fourteenth century, Vatican in Rome has been enjoying the reputation of the treasury holding the best art pieces of the Italian Renaissance. Its vast exhibition of ancient arts (the Ancient Greece and Rome) gives a chance to learn more about sources which formed and developed collections of the Italian art, works of the Renaissance masters (Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael) and creative personalities of other artists belonging to different epochs. The Vatican museums are major research and educational centres that take into account the scientific work conducted by their employees on the study of collections, organization of exhibitions and lecture conducting.

Founded in 1753, the British Museum (holding about 13 million pieces from around the world, including world-famous masterpieces) is well known for a huge collection of paintings of European artists.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was opened in a single building in New York. Since 1877, it has stored about 3 million exhibits divided into 19 themed sections.

Sotnikova wrote in her book, “…knowledge accumulated in the museum undergoes moral reflection, beginning to be rethought in the value categories, working on human identity. In this sense, a museum is a temple for a person, and museum communication serves as an off-temple mass” ([1], p. 112).

While demonstrating paintings, sculptures and drawings held in a large museum collection, a guide often has a limited time. On the one hand, a professional usually tries generalizing figurative images and bringing them to a common definition. On the other hand, a guide should somehow deconstruct one-dimensional and homogeneous concepts and reveal their essence through an art review. A special emphasis is laid upon the art context in which a classical piece of art is presented. The system of figurative images necessary for the presentation should also be considered. The search for artistic means to enrich the style and genre is closely connected with the search for imagery that intensifies impressions and impacts. Besides, the art review should cover the best pieces of art and acknowledged masterpieces that are the crown jewel of a museum exposition ([2], p. 512). The Vatican collection cannot be imagined without major images of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo and Raphael’s Stanze and marble sculptures by Phidias and Praxiteles praising the human strength and beauty. The Uffizi Gallery cannot exist without Botticelli’s “Three Graces”, and the Louvre is imaginable without the mysterious smile of the Mona Lisa. If a guide does not take into account these factors, tourists can get different impressions from a tour, not those they were expecting. The analysis of an artwork must meet the highest scientific requirements. However, each piece of art should address the tourist’s feelings and cause an emotional reaction. According to Fedorov, “By educating the mind, the museum educates the feelings as well, but only the ones of a noble and sacred nature” ([3], p. 391). The depth and authenticity of the reality represented by a painting is a deconstructible, detailed and infinitely diverse continuum. The artistic plane is more abstract than a three-dimensional sculpture and seems to be more coherent. It is a formal model comprising artistic elements associated with the viewer reaching the integrity of their depth. If one takes a look at some painting with certain emotions and lets it stimulate the viewer’s attention to the depicted events, they can be perceived as a slice of a real life in its natural course. This feeling is born not only from the authenticity of graphic textures of any given artwork but also from its peculiar composition, the balance of light and colour and the general style of the chosen period. A guide should comment on these components of the artistic image during an excursion.

Sometimes, it is necessary to focus on some aspects of the biography of artists, especially the most renowned ones. For instance, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael are not just historical figures associated with the time they were living in but also vivid images that continue to live in their artworks. Interested tourists can see all the intricacies of the human soul depicted by these great masters. It is the exact moment when they get familiar with the artist’s personality.

The classic art review usually comprises diachronic and synchronous approaches to artworks exhibited in chronological order in museums and art galleries. Thus, Sotnikov describes one of the museum communication schemes and defines it as follows: “the visitor/the history and culture of certain time periods”. “Museum exhibits serve as a link that allows for a diachronic (between the cultures of different time periods) and synchronous (between the cultures of regions, ethnic, religious groups, etc.) dialogue of cultures” [4]. This diachronic dialogue corresponds to the position and role of the chosen artworks in the historical art context. The synchronous dialogue analyses pieces of art in their relation as if they are contemporaries. They are regarded as contemporaries since they exist in one chronological period. Various art cultures relate to one another also as old and new ones in conformity with their historical genesis. They are like social and national artistic forces existing at the same time, whose interactions and contacts occur in the same field and are often characterized by a clash of different trends and styles. Since any exposition is not a frozen set of exhibits, it is characterized by “the variable composition”, i.e. new exhibits are added and the existing ones are replaced or updated. Therefore, the theme of a guided tour should be clearly defined depending on the location of each museum exhibition that provides the audience with an opportunity to demonstrate specific results of the exhibition display at the excursion end ([5], p. 20).


4. Open-air objects in the structure of an art-related excursion

The analysis of three-dimensional pieces of art (including monumental and decorative sculptures, architectural constructions, ensembles and complexes, palaces and mansions, estates and houses, administrative and public buildings) is characterized by its own specific features. They are usually large objects reflecting major historical events. They do not illustrate certain data and scenes but rather conditions and highlights of the nation’s memory. These figurative images become symbols and remind of the imagery of medieval icons where images of saints are elevated by graphical and compositional means. Initially, they much more intensely perceive the space in its sculptural or architectural transformation, which creates a fictional world open to reality. The idea of development plays the key role in tours devoted to sculptural complexes and architectural ensembles of Russia. The open, proud and happy feeling of love for one’s homeland experienced by sightseers has something primal in its core.

Throughout a walking tour, all the movement thought out and organized by a guide gains exciting randomness of real life where feelings are more important than the mind. Each guide should consider the route around exhibits with fixed vantage points providing a particularly strong impression according to the artist’s idea. The perception of exhibits depends on the viewer’s open or closed perspective, the distance from which a building or sculpture is observed, i.e. a certain change of near and distant planes is also of great importance. As a rule, a city tour comprises a comprehensive presentation of its individual elements, including squares, streets, ensembles, historical buildings and neighbourhoods. While getting familiar with the urban planning, terrain features, city zoning and landmarks, tourists pay much attention to the integration of the latter into the modern city structure as city-forming factors ([6], p. 247).

Sightseeing tours around ancient cities and cities-reserves usually call for a multi-faceted and complex art review. While demonstrating the synthesis of architectural and plastic arts typical of these cities, guides highlight the leading role of architecture that organizes the space and defines the location and scale of paintings, sculptures and decorative art elements. Special attention is paid to the review of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The art review of three-dimensional objects must include data on archaeology, compositional means and techniques (proportion, scale, contrast and nuance, rhythm, colour, texture, etc.) and the composition nature (front, deep, spatial, etc.).

One more aspect of the art review is the interpretation of presentation and description of landmarks seen through the window of a tour bus and perceived in dynamics. In this regard, it is necessary to consider the speed a tour bus is moving with that leads to a quick change of scenes and objects (e.g. on a city square) requiring compressed information. In case of distant objects, a guide can provide more detailed information although the speed is much higher (on highways) ([7], p. 8). The view available from windows of a bus gets a special meaning. It lets tourists experience the unbreakable integrity of architectural landmarks within the urban environment (for instance, the Hermitage building with the great city). They prove that the Hermitage is the central architectural ensemble associated with significant pages of the Russian history. The scenery outside the bus windows is not just a neutral background as it has its own meaning (e.g. landscape principle in the Russian Orthodox architecture). Both a walking tour presenting three-dimensional objects and calling for a round trip and a sightseeing bus tour dealing with changing consecutive images different from one another eventually form a coherent whole. The dynamics and cinematography of frames-images are the rules that turn sculpture and architecture (static art forms) into “dynamic” ones. The expressive means comprise the physical notions of space and time. To thoroughly comprehend and understand an architectural construction, one needs to walk it around since the composition is based on the perception from many viewpoints within a certain time (a special type of composition can stop the time, i.e. the viewpoint of some building or ensemble remains the same). However, the physical time is inseparable from its artistic manifestation in comparison with the actual time of observation. Evening and night tours using artificial lighting (lanterns, lamps and luminescence) create a special mood.

The impressive look of an object may depend on circumstances. Light distribution and glare tones can completely change the effect of streets, buildings and ensembles. To conduct these tours, guides should think over routes in the context of impressive lighting and play of light and shadow, glares and reflections that create a rather impressionistic mood enriched by other acoustic and olfactory sensations more poignant at night-time. Light patterns of architecture and sculpture fulfil many functions. On the one hand, it ensures the chosen object functions in the visual and expressive context. On the other hand, illumination enhances the impression of authenticity and reality of the perceived object.

Light also plays an iconic role. Using unusual lighting and its expressive functions, guides can express their attitude towards the presented object and reveal the symbolic nature of the most crucial monuments, events, human figures and associated figurative images. Besides, the light atmosphere typical of some city and resembling a theatrical scene is completely visible through large windows of a modern tour bus and often becomes a real highlight of night city tours.

Finally, there is one more significant aspect of thinking over the objects seen and perceived throughout a guided tour, i.e. the ability to concentrate on the matters related to the interaction among artworks, the audience (guided tourists) and a conductor (guide), as well as their direct communication and feedback. An art-related excursion is always the result and the portrait of a guide, and it often addresses some burning issues. Today, these peculiarities are particularly evident since the type of modern guided tours is also changing. Guided tours become not only a form of data presentation but also a place of communication or a theatrical performance where paintings, sculptures, architectural monuments and handicrafts “play” and a guide-interpreter or guide-reviewer acts as a director.

Modern guided tours try going beyond the usual organizational work and the synoptic presentation of trite information. They use various options for structuring the material, analyse numerous objects belonging to the cultural heritage and realize humanistic ideas.

One of these ideas implies humanistic growth throughout a guided tour which is the participant’s worldview and is manifested in the process of understanding the world around him ([8], p. 126). Each museum communicates the ideas received by the artist of any given painting or other artworks through their beliefs, personal experience and social background. The environment influences most experiences. According to the innovative understanding of environmental structures, they comprise not only environmental conditions of habitat areas but rather functional aspects of the chosen environment.

The understanding of the environment in the course of a guided tour can be expressed through the description of social and economic conditions which accompanied the creation and presentation of the chosen artwork. To focus the tourist’s attention on the environmental object, one should highlight how the object blends with adjacent environmental objects and how its creation and functioning can be useful to overcome functioning errors of the existing cultural and everyday objects. We can conclude that the past of objects in their harmonious development is the key to ensuring the future of a sustainable human lifespan. It is necessary to adopt the basic idea that the object cannot be perceived without its environment. Since a guided tour involves personal influence (e.g. discourse), it would create an inextricable link between the object and habitat in the human mind.

The constant conduct of such activities will create a sustainable development discourse for the formation of an eco-oriented personal paradigm. The art review can stress out the fact that the observation of integrated places in nature reserves and cities separately from the environment cannot focus on the presentation of viewed elements, but their true nature can be truly revealed with the help of the comprehensive presentation approach (synergetic paradigm). In fact, it allows building new tourist routes, offering alternative programmes and increasing the attractiveness of fixed-route tours, as well as their economic viability and the overall profit that will provide opportunities for further development of the analysed area.

The excursion study of art in its development made attempts to elaborate expressive capacities which, to some extent, are analogical and used in the historical excursion programmes. However, live practice of the contemporary art is constantly delivering new unconventional genres and techniques in creation of artistic images, newly synthesizing and interpreting the traits of already established fine and expressive forms habitual for a viewer.


5. Principles of scientificity in art-related excursions

The talk about works of pictorial art, sculpture and architecture is often theoretically limited by their narrative side, which decreases the professional content-related analysis. The excursion deprived of informational origin is just a sightseeing, the effective influence of which on the excursionists’ minds will be minimal. There is a growing contradiction between the need of the guide to acquire a new content, to give it a new form, and the ability of the excursionists to understand it. The imperfection of the culture of aesthetic perception and incomprehension of specifics of new directions in art lead to the loss of criteria to all the fine artworks regardless of their kind, genre and style, while the uniform standard measures are applied to them.

It defines the main goal of the present paper, which is concluded in understanding of the core of problems, which the modern excursion practice faces. The tasks consist in revelation of possible methods of actualization of scientific information in art excursions; they are considered at all the preparatory stages of the excursion from the definition of the excursion theme to its implementation. Perhaps, the term “scientific information” is not proper by itself if it relates to the works of art. It denotes the acquaintance and study of the objects applied to the actual documentary material. “The advantages of a museum excursion over the other educational forms are concluded in the fact that the objects of perception are the originals, and their range is very wide – from natural monument to piece of art. They have a great cognitive capacity being the reflection of the processes of development of nature and civilization, certain epoch, the destiny of author or the whole folk” [4], Stoljarov noted. Thus, the analytical and exploratory functions of the excursion activities grow. Excursion practice shows that even a small amount of information becomes richer due to the scientific character of the narrative, which organizes the listeners’ attention and helps to make its generalizations and conclusions as well as to estimate the artistic objects in-depth. The scientific worldview is in fact the view of the world where the world is interpreted in a certain way. Tight connection exists between the contemporary art and the science, and surprisingly it is exactly the art innovators among which we most often reveal the correspondence of their art tendencies to the scientific commitments of the modernity. Today, we need such form of scientific knowledge transfer which may make the scientific truth available, explicable and clear without deforming it. And here the guides may come to help, who acquire a special power of imagination and are able to include the scientific model and the scientific notion into the range of the imaginative associations and into the symbolical fabric of an art object.

We got used, speaking about the scientific principles in the study of art, to the special terminology, the reference apparatus, new discoveries and researches in the sphere of the content of museum and private collections, activities on revelation of artistic values in the regions of different countries and on nationalization of large private collections and creation of the museum funds, expositional and restoration works, deep scientific analysis of the masters’ creative work, cataloguing the pieces of art, etc. forming the infinity of interlocks, the aggregate picture of art studies which denotes the direction of its development to the growing interpenetration of the science and art [9].

In the excursion work, the cognitive theory may be considered not only from the perspective of acquisition by the excursionists of the pieces of art included into the excursion but also from the perspective of the cognitive forms themselves, used by the guide regardless of the conception content of the pieces of art; such consideration suggests a certain procedure between the categories as a certain standard. The cognitive ability of the listeners depends on the professionalism and the narrative skills of the guide. First, imaginative impression from excursion is formed at a certain level of information. Its deficiency does not give the entire image of the object, while the overload may destroy the image. Combination of scientific and imaginative origins is important here not only because every piece of art comes laden with a “solid sense” but also due to the fact that “solid artistic work” should have a certain extent of “lightness” in order to maximally influence the audience. Romanov, speaking about the mission of the guide at demonstration and narrative of the artistic objects, noted that he or she should “introduce the viewers into the aesthetical experience and provide them with the in-depth analysis of the famous piece of art” [10]. It seems that the audience success is the indicator of accuracy of this combination, organically connected with the personality of the guide. The motions of the guide’s thought include unexpected associations, bold comparisons and the skill of understanding the inner contradictions peculiar to the information material about the objects. Besides, the motion of thought is the ability to get a view of the dynamics of the programme material in historical perspective and in time. The amazing combination of seemingly incompatible traits contains not less aesthetic advantages than any piece of art, sculpture or architecture. Then, the contact between the guide and the excursionists is based on the feeling of their community where moral and spiritual affinity is expressed.


6. Methods of actualization of the scientific material in preparing for and implementing art-related excursions

The methods of actualization of the scientific material may begin with the preparation of the excursion. It is known that general excursion methods consist of two parts—the methods of excursion preparation and the methods of its conduction.

The preparation to excursion may also be considered in two directions: development of new theme for the excursion and preparation of the guide for a new theme. The preparation of excursion is implemented gradually by the stages. It begins from the choice of the theme and the aim of the excursion. Correct statement of the aims and tasks is very important, because everything which will be shown and said in the course of the excursion is subordinated to them. So, in the chosen theme “Mansions of Moscow”, architecturally diverse buildings of the Art Nouveau period are one of the integral peculiarities of the historic development of the old Moscow. Having formulated the aims and tasks, the guide should be very well aware that the principle of the material selection and its conceptual organization are a challenge. Then, there is the selection of the object for the excursion. They are selected according to their cognitive value, significance and location. The preferable focus only on the popularity of the piece of art may make the excursion material lighter and more entertaining. The number of the selected objects is also a significant criterion (if it is small, the excursion will be deficient, while if it is too big, then it will turn into amateurism). Any excursion programme should not be a static set of showpieces and objects; it should be characterized by variability of the composition, i.e. addition, removal and renewal of the suggested materials. Any group of excursions has its own classification of the objects. So, in the sightseeing excursions, it is accepted to distinguish the architectural monuments and ensembles, modern buildings, etc. In the excursions of the gardens, parks and country estates, the viewers will see pavilions, statues, grottos and pieces of water. The museum excursion will be devoted to the acquaintance and analysis of the pieces of art.

After the selection of the excursion objects, they are attentively studied, which include live inspection and the literature searches. The work on selection and study of the excursion object is completed by the composition of the excursion route, which can be built on the chronological, thematic or complex principle. After development of the route, the guide goes the round of it, elaborating the route, location of the objects, their accessibility and the parking points and developing the main and additional (reserve) showing points. In the process of the going the round, the timing (of the route) from one object to another is considered for precise calculation of the excursion time. Only after the route is completed, the work on the composition of the excursion text begins. “Excursion text includes introduction and conclusion, consists of the characteristics of the objects and certain material connected with this object, conclusions and generalizations, and logical transfers to the next sub-themes. The control text contains all the precise quotations, facts, numbers, examples and moreover the obligatory references. Individual text of the guide is built in accordance with the methodical development and exactly reflects the real structure of the excursion with the consideration of the time factor. It has the introduction, body and conclusion” [11], as noted by Sichinaeva in the “Excursion Work” publication.

Finally, the preparation of a thematic excursion is completed with the composition of a guidance paper with the excursion route, the places of interest, stops, duration, procedure of the demonstration and the narrative. The excursion text and the guidance paper can be peer reviewed. There is a direct analogy with the methods of scientific work. However, the above said is just the initial stage of the scientific formation of the principles, which are not composed as a finished system which might serve as the indicator of scientificity in general. The methods of preparation to the new excursion themes or the reconstruction of the old by themselves (which is quite natural if to mind the thoroughness, with which the excursion is being prepared) are not scientific discovery or research.

The approach to the material and the interpretation of it is another significant problem which should be primarily solved by the author of the forthcoming excursion. The method for actualization of the scientific information suggests first of all total correspondence of the excursion content to the categories of originality. Scientific knowledge is characterized by the objective truthfulness; it is based on the theoretically or experimentally proven facts and information. Scientific knowledge is also characterized by generality when chaotic and, from the first sight, accidental facts and phenomena hide general and significant regularities of objective world. Notably, the practice of the world art provides us with numerous examples of rapprochement of science and art, which last for centuries. They have numerous guises. Today, they are perceived by far not at the forgotten semantic background. From the mighty force of the abstraction of the Ancient Egyptian pyramids, elaborated structure of the Greek temple’s “golden section”, beautiful proportions of the “Doryphoros” by sculptor Polykleitos, perfect shapes of the dome of Pantheon, to the rise of the engineering thought in the structure of the Gothic cathedral, Renaissance acquisition of anatomy and linear perspective, optical techniques in the Western Europe painting in the seventeenth century and to the rational substantiation of functionalism in the architecture by Le Corbusier—these are the stages of scientific and creative achievements.

The requirement of the scientificity principle covers not only the content of the material. It should be strictly observed also in the process of its narrative: scientific interpretation of the excursion facts, phenomena and concepts is an integral part of every excursion, not to describe but to explore the pieces of architecture, painting and sculpture on the basis of a certain artistic and historical or contemporary material. The conceptual and artistic potential of the guide’s narrative will be sharply reduced if the audience perceives it only at the level of the plot of a book, not comprehending the content of the second, third and fourth layers. However, in the archive of the excursion study, there is a series of the qualities peculiar only to it.

The first and the most simple is visual expression which is not equal to demonstrativeness; it may rise to some complete vision unavailable without natural overlook. The visual basis of any excursion is the excursion objects, serving mostly the centre of the guide’s narrative. The excursion objects are the monuments of architecture and sculpture, memorial sites, natural sites, expositions of museums, art galleries and exhibitions. Memorial sites can be squares, streets and whole cities. The visible image of the demonstrated objects and phenomena is transferred through fine and graphical arts, which have an opportunity to imprint the reality in an especially spectacular and convincing manner.

The acutest problem for the guides is the achievement of audial and visual image. In the conducted excursions, visual images often illustrate the guide’s text. The result is the illustrating lectures. However, on the way of eliminating this disadvantage, we more often face another extreme—isolation of the text from the narrative. The text does not only comment but even does not supplement the seen. It just indirectly relates to the images passing over the listener’s eyes. Here, it is important to achieve the principle of connection of visual and observed with the information and audible origins.

Scientific excursion is not only logics but also the source of complicated emotions. In the conscience of a scientist and any other person having rather a high level of emotional culture, scientific concepts and philosophical truths are coloured with emotions which are hard to describe. Often, not only the information contained in the scientific or philosophical truth but also the feelings that we experience in connection with this information allow us to appreciate the thoughts and to comprehend their depth and significance. That is why a miraculous ability of creative transformation is important, which provides the author-guide with the opportunity not only to “depict” and describe the object but also to think in it figuratively. The engine of the sensuous process can drive the viewer-excursionist to his or her own discovery of the fundamental philosophical concepts.

Another quality of scientific excursion is spiritual community. Any excursion unites audience and provokes the necessity of communication and discussion of the heard and seen. Preparation of a new excursion now requires complex and systematic approach to studying the audience and conduction of certain sociological researches. The deeper the material is comprehended, the acuter the necessity in its discussion is. The guide applying in his or her analysis to the history recalls the past, where not only the historical fact is interesting by itself but also its correlation with the present, which allows achieving more level of generalization.

The pieces of art are perceived not just as a date with the past but as the dialogue with the present and future, whether they are connected with acquisition of new structures and technologies in architecture, new painting methods or sculptural forms. It seems that such scheme has nothing in common with the number of traditionally built pale narratives penetrating in the bulk of the usual excursions. The scientific way of thinking is generally characterized by a unique ability of mediating time with a great degree of credibility, because the science usually outruns the reality be several years. And if our excursion practice is attentive to the spiritual illumination of the scientific world, then it may manage to foresee the intellectual and moral appearance of the future humanity before the other spheres of activities. Penetration into the scientific and creative thought of architectural and other artistic masterpieces may play an important role in it.

The category of wholeness in the structure of excursion is a not-less-important fact and by its nature is close to the reflection and cognition of the world in its completeness. Even if the excursion has a narrow focus on a certain theme, it nevertheless cannot do without touching the issues of interrelation of an artwork and a human, the memorial of art and nature. The guide telling about and showing the memorials of art should illuminate the listeners by the touch with philosophical continuity of the world and the feeling of its penetration in all things existent. Then, the excursionists will transfer into the thinkers themselves; into the discoverers, who become aware of their involvement into the dynamical unity of the world; and into the organics of nature and the stream of the history. Excursions can help in establishing the modern way of thinking which is concluded in the ability to simultaneously see and consider the spiritual, psychological, moral, ecological and economic aspects.

At last, heuristicity is the quality peculiar to the best scientifically built solid excursions. They tune to creative perception of the scientific information concluded in them, develop imagination and suggest not only the ready conclusions but also the questions, stimulating the audience’s own search.

It is not simple to organize a good excursion. It requires a perfect skill of the art study speaking, wide associative way of thinking and smart and skilful combination of sober mind with bright emotionality, i.e. requires high professionalism. It is obvious that the “Conclusions of the excursionists are based on not only the seen, but also on the heard” [12]. In-depth analysis of the demonstrated object concept and art core will manifold increase the scientific level of excursion. According to B. Emel’janov, “Professionalism of the guide is a special kind of art, which is built on the active interpretation and smart combination of show and narrative, participation in the perception process of interaction of such components as the guide, the excursionists, and the excursion objects …” [13]. The skill to add his or her own role by the guide to the harmonic correspondence with the system of the emerging unity is also necessary. The guide is at the same time both the actor and the director of his or her own play and role—he should be equally the analysing and reporting organizer of the entire concept and the programme as a whole.


7. Conclusion

So, the correct solution of the problems connected with the methods for actualization of scientific information in the art excursions has not only a great cognitive but also great methodological value. It is like a focus where such key issues and categories for excursion and art study gather as objective and subjective, emotional and intellectual and reality and imagination.

Thus, the methods for actualization of scientific material in the structure of excursion and art study programme, their key components and the mechanisms of interaction with aesthetic, social and cultural and ideological context are the necessary conditions not only for studying the history of cultural monuments and artworks but also for solution of practical tasks of efficient application of it in the excursion process as a whole. Integration of science and art is provoked by the persistent live necessity of creating the united and entire scientific picture of the world, correspondent to the modern level of the accumulated knowledge.


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Written By

Tatiana Vasil’evna Portnova

Submitted: 12 May 2018 Reviewed: 03 July 2018 Published: 05 November 2018