Academic art

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Academic art is a style of painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

 and sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

 produced under the influence of European academies
Academy
An academy is an institution of higher learning, research, or honorary membership.The name traces back to Plato's school of philosophy, founded approximately 385 BC at Akademia, a sanctuary of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and skill, north of Athens, Greece. In the western world academia is the...

 of art. Specifically, academic art is the art and artists influenced by the standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts
Académie des beaux-arts
The Académie des Beaux-Arts is a French learned society. It is one of the five academies of the Institut de France.It was created in 1795 as the merger of the:* Académie de peinture et de sculpture...

, which practiced under the movements of Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

 and Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

, and the art that followed these two movements in the attempt to synthesize both of their styles, and which is best reflected by the paintings of William-Adolphe Bouguereau
William-Adolphe Bouguereau
William-Adolphe Bouguereau was a French academic painter. William Bouguereau was a traditionalist; in his realistic genre paintings he used mythological themes, making modern interpretations of Classical subjects, with an emphasis on the female human body.-Life and career :William-Adolphe...

, Thomas Couture
Thomas Couture
Thomas Couture was an influential French history painter and teacher. Couture taught such later luminaries of the art world as Édouard Manet, Henri Fantin-Latour, John La Farge, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Karel Javůrek, and J-N Sylvestre.-Life:He was born at Senlis, Oise, France...

, and Hans Makart
Hans Makart
Hans Makart was a 19th century Austrian academic history painter, designer, and decorator; most well known for his influence on Gustav Klimt and other Austrian artists, but in his own era considered an important artist himself and was a celebrity figure in the high culture of Vienna, attended with...

. In this context it is often called "academism", "academicism", "L'art pompier
L'art pompier
L'art pompier, literally "Fireman Art", is a derisory late nineteenth century French term for large "official" academic art paintings of the time, especially historical or allegorical ones...

", and "eclecticism", and sometimes linked with "historicism
Historicism (art)
Historicism refers to artistic styles that draw their inspiration from copying historic styles or artisans. After neo-classicism, which could itself be considered a historicist movement, the 19th century saw a new historicist phase marked by a return to a more ancient classicism, in particular in...

" and "syncretism
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

".

The art influenced by academies in general is also called "academic art". In this context as new styles are embraced by academics, the new styles come to be considered academic, thus what was at one time a rebellion against academic art becomes academic art.

The academies in history


The first academy of art was founded in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 in Italy by Cosimo I de' Medici, on 13 January 1563, under the influence of the architect Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari
Giorgio Vasari was an Italian painter, writer, historian, and architect, who is famous today for his biographies of Italian artists, considered the ideological foundation of art-historical writing.-Biography:...

 who called it the Accademia e Compagnia delle Arti del Disegno
Accademia delle Arti del Disegno
The Accademia delle Arti del Disegno of Florence promotes the safeguard of the works of art in Italy. Founded in 1563, it was the first academy of drawing established in Europe.- History of the Accademia :...

 (Academy and Company for the Arts of Drawing) as it was divided in two different operative branches. While the Company was a kind of corporation which every working artist in Tuscany could join, the Academy comprised only the most eminent artistic personalities of Cosimo’s court, and had the task of supervising the whole artistic production of the medicean state. In this medicean institution students learned the "arti del disegno" (a term coined by Vasari) and heard lectures on anatomy
Anatomy
Anatomy is a branch of biology and medicine that is the consideration of the structure of living things. It is a general term that includes human anatomy, animal anatomy , and plant anatomy...

 and geometry
Geometry
Geometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of pre-modern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers ....

. Another academy, the Accademia di San Luca
Accademia di San Luca
The Accademia di San Luca, was founded in 1577 as an association of artists in Rome, under the directorship of Federico Zuccari, with the purpose of elevating the work of "artists", which included painters, sculptors and architects, above that of mere craftsmen. Other founders included Girolamo...

 (named after the patron saint of painters, St. Luke), was founded about a decade later in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. The Accademia di San Luca served an educational function and was more concerned with art theory than the Florentine one. In 1582 Annibale Carracci
Annibale Carracci
Annibale Carracci was an Italian Baroque painter.-Early career:Annibale Carracci was born in Bologna, and in all likelihood first apprenticed within his family...

 opened his very influential Academy of Desiderosi in Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

 without official support; in some ways this was more like a traditional artist's workshop, but that he felt the need to label it as an "academy" demonstrates the attraction of the idea at the time.

Accademia di San Luca later served as the model for the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture founded in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in 1648, and which later became the Académie des beaux-arts
Académie des beaux-arts
The Académie des Beaux-Arts is a French learned society. It is one of the five academies of the Institut de France.It was created in 1795 as the merger of the:* Académie de peinture et de sculpture...

. The Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture was founded in an effort to distinguish artists "who were gentlemen practicing a liberal art" from craftsmen, who were engaged in manual labor. This emphasis on the intellectual component of artmaking had a considerable impact on the subjects and styles of academic art.

After the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture was reorganized in 1661 by Louis XIV
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

 whose aim was to control all the artistic activity in France, a controversy occurred among the members that dominated artistic attitudes for the rest of the century. This "battle of styles" was a conflict over whether Peter Paul Rubens or Nicolas Poussin
Nicolas Poussin
Nicolas Poussin was a French painter in the classical style. His work predominantly features clarity, logic, and order, and favors line over color. His work serves as an alternative to the dominant Baroque style of the 17th century...

 was a suitable model to follow. Followers of Poussin, called "poussinistes", argued that line (disegno) should dominate art, because of its appeal to the intellect, while followers of Rubens, called "rubenistes", argued that color (colore) should dominate art, because of its appeal to emotion.

The debate was revived in the early 19th century, under the movements of Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

 typified by the artwork of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres was a French Neoclassical painter. Although he considered himself to be a painter of history in the tradition of Nicolas Poussin and Jacques-Louis David, by the end of his life it was Ingres's portraits, both painted and drawn, that were recognized as his greatest...

, and Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 typified by the artwork of Eugène Delacroix
Eugène Delacroix
Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school...

. Debates also occurred over whether it was better to learn art by looking at nature, or to learn by looking at the artistic masters of the past.

Academies using the French model formed throughout Europe, and imitated the teachings and styles of the French Académie. In England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, this was the Royal Academy
Royal Academy
The Royal Academy of Arts is an art institution based in Burlington House on Piccadilly, London. The Royal Academy of Arts has a unique position in being an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects whose purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment and...

. The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts founded in 1754, may be taken as a successful example in a smaller country, which achieved its aim of producing a national school and reducing the reliance on imported artists. The painters of the Danish Golden Age of roughly 1800-1850 were nearly all trained there, and many returned to teach and the history of the art of Denmark
Art of Denmark
Danish art goes back thousands of years with significant artifacts from the 2nd millennium BC, such as the Trundholm sun chariot. Art from modern Denmark forms part of the art of the Nordic Bronze Age, and then Norse and Viking art...

 is much less marked by tension between academic art and other styles than is the case in other countries.

One effect of the move to academies was to make training more difficult for women artists
Women artists
Women artists have been involved in making art in most times and places. Often certain certain media are associated with women, particularly textile arts; however, these gender roles in art change in different cultures and communities...

, who were excluded from most academies until the last half of the 19th century (1861 for the Royal Academy). This was partly because of concerns over the propriety of life class
Life class
A life class is a class held in art schools for the purpose of instructing art students on drawing or painting the human figure from live models, typically nude or with minimal clothing...

es with nude models' special arrangements were often made for female students until the 20th century.

Development of the academic style


Since the onset of the poussiniste-rubiniste debate many artists worked between the two styles. In the 19th century, in the revived form of the debate, the attention and the aims of the art world became to synthesize the line of Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

 with the color of Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

. One artist after another was claimed by critics to have achieved the synthesis, among them Théodore Chassériau
Théodore Chassériau
Théodore Chassériau was a French romantic painter noted for his portraits, historical and religious paintings, allegorical murals, and Orientalist images inspired by his travels to Algeria.-Life and work:...

, Ary Scheffer
Ary Scheffer
Ary Scheffer , French painter of Dutch and German extraction, was born in Dordrecht.-Life:After the early death of his father Johann Baptist, a poor painter, Ary's mother Cornelia, herself a painter and daughter of landscapist Arie Lamme, took him to Paris and placed him in the studio of...

, Francesco Hayez
Francesco Hayez
Francesco Hayez was an Italian painter, the leading artist of Romanticism in mid-19th-century Milan, renowned for his grand historical paintings, political allegories and exceptionally fine portraits.-Biography:...

, Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps
Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps
]Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps was a French painter.He was born in Paris. In his youth he travelled in the East, and reproduced Oriental life and scenery with a bold fidelity to nature that puzzled conventional critics...

, and Thomas Couture
Thomas Couture
Thomas Couture was an influential French history painter and teacher. Couture taught such later luminaries of the art world as Édouard Manet, Henri Fantin-Latour, John La Farge, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Karel Javůrek, and J-N Sylvestre.-Life:He was born at Senlis, Oise, France...

. William-Adolphe Bouguereau
William-Adolphe Bouguereau
William-Adolphe Bouguereau was a French academic painter. William Bouguereau was a traditionalist; in his realistic genre paintings he used mythological themes, making modern interpretations of Classical subjects, with an emphasis on the female human body.-Life and career :William-Adolphe...

, a later academic artist, commented that the trick to being a good painter is seeing "color and line as the same thing."
Thomas Couture promoted the same idea in a book he authored on art method — arguing that whenever one said a painting had better color or better line it was nonsense, because whenever color appeared brilliant it depended on line to convey it, and vice versa; and that color was really a way to talk about the "value" of form.

Another development during this period included adopting historical styles in order to show the era in history that the painting depicted, called historicism
Historicism (art)
Historicism refers to artistic styles that draw their inspiration from copying historic styles or artisans. After neo-classicism, which could itself be considered a historicist movement, the 19th century saw a new historicist phase marked by a return to a more ancient classicism, in particular in...

. This is best seen in the work of Baron Jan August Hendrik Leys
Jan August Hendrik Leys
Jan August Hendrik, Baron Leys , also known as Henri Leys, was a Belgian painter and printmaker.Henri Leys was born and died in Antwerp. He studied with Mathieu Ignace Van Brée at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp and then with his brother-in-law Ferdinand De Braekeleer...

, a later influence on James Tissot
James Tissot
James Jacques Joseph Tissot was a French painter, who spent much of his career in Britain.-Biography:Tissot was born in Nantes, France. In about 1856, he began study at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Hippolyte Flandrin and Lamothe, and became friendly with Edgar Degas and James Abbott...

. It's also seen in the development of the Neo-Grec
Neo-Grec
Neo-Grec is a term referring to late manifestations of Neoclassicism, early Neo-Renaissance now called the Greek Revival style, which was popularized in architecture, the decorative arts, and in painting during France's Second Empire, or the reign of Napoleon III, a period that lasted...

 style. Historicism is also meant to refer to the belief and practice associated with academic art that one should incorporate and conciliate the innovations of different traditions of art from the past.
The art world also grew to give increasing focus on allegory
Allegory
Allegory is a demonstrative form of representation explaining meaning other than the words that are spoken. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation...

 in art. Both theories of the importance of line and color asserted that through these elements an artist exerted control over the medium to create psychological effects, in which themes, emotions, and ideas can be represented. As artists attempted to synthesize these theories in practice, the attention on the artwork as an allegorical or figurative vehicle was emphasized. It was held that the representations in paintings and sculpture should evoke Platonic forms, or ideals, where behind ordinary depictions one would glimpse something abstract, some eternal truth. Hence, Keats'
John Keats
John Keats was an English Romantic poet. Along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, he was one of the key figures in the second generation of the Romantic movement, despite the fact that his work had been in publication for only four years before his death.Although his poems were not...

 famous musing "Beauty is truth, truth beauty". The paintings were desired to be an "idée", a full and complete idea. Bouguereau is known to have said that he wouldn't paint "a war", but would paint "War". Many paintings by academic artists are simple nature-allegories with titles like Dawn, Dusk, Seeing, and Tasting, where these ideas are personified by a single nude figure, composed in such a way as to bring out the essence of the idea.

The trend in art was also towards greater idealism, which is contrary to realism
Realism (arts)
Realism in the visual arts and literature refers to the general attempt to depict subjects "in accordance with secular, empirical rules", as they are considered to exist in third person objective reality, without embellishment or interpretation...

, in that the figures depicted were made simpler and more abstract—idealized—in order to be able to represent the ideals they stood in for. This would involve both generalizing forms seen in nature, and subordinating them to the unity and theme of the artwork.

Because history and mythology were considered as plays or dialectic
Dialectic
Dialectic is a method of argument for resolving disagreement that has been central to Indic and European philosophy since antiquity. The word dialectic originated in Ancient Greece, and was made popular by Plato in the Socratic dialogues...

s of ideas, a fertile ground for important allegory, using themes from these subjects was considered the most serious form of painting. A hierarchy of genres
Hierarchy of genres
A hierarchy of genres is any formalization which ranks different genres in an art form in terms of their prestige and cultural value....

, originally created in the 17th century, was valued, where history painting
History painting
History painting is a genre in painting defined by subject matter rather than an artistic style, depicting a moment in a narrative story, rather than a static subject such as a portrait...

—classical, religious, mythological, literary, and allegorical subjects—was placed at the top, next genre painting, then portrait
Portrait
thumb|250px|right|Portrait of [[Thomas Jefferson]] by [[Rembrandt Peale]], 1805. [[New-York Historical Society]].A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness,...

ure, still-life, and landscape
Landscape art
Landscape art is a term that covers the depiction of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, and especially art where the main subject is a wide view, with its elements arranged into a coherent composition. In other works landscape backgrounds for figures can still...

. History painting was also known as the "grande genre". Paintings of Hans Makart
Hans Makart
Hans Makart was a 19th century Austrian academic history painter, designer, and decorator; most well known for his influence on Gustav Klimt and other Austrian artists, but in his own era considered an important artist himself and was a celebrity figure in the high culture of Vienna, attended with...

 are often larger than life historical dramas, and he combined this with a historicism
Historicism (art)
Historicism refers to artistic styles that draw their inspiration from copying historic styles or artisans. After neo-classicism, which could itself be considered a historicist movement, the 19th century saw a new historicist phase marked by a return to a more ancient classicism, in particular in...

 in decoration to dominate the style of 19th century Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 culture. Paul Delaroche is a typifying example of French history painting.

All of these trends were influenced by the theories of the philosopher Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher, one of the creators of German Idealism. His historicist and idealist account of reality as a whole revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Continental philosophy and Marxism.Hegel developed a comprehensive...

, who held that history was a dialectic of competing ideas, which eventually resolved in synthesis.

Towards the end of the 19th century, academic art had saturated European society. Exhibitions were held often, and the most popular exhibition was the Paris Salon
Paris Salon
The Salon , or rarely Paris Salon , beginning in 1725 was the official art exhibition of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France. Between 1748–1890 it was the greatest annual or biannual art event in the Western world...

 and beginning in 1903, the Salon d'Automne
Salon d'Automne
In 1903, the first Salon d'Automne was organized by Georges Rouault, André Derain, Henri Matisse, Angele Delasalle and Albert Marquet as a reaction to the conservative policies of the official Paris Salon...

. These salons were sensational events that attracted crowds of visitors, both native and foreign. As much a social affair as an artistic one, 50,000 people might visit on a single Sunday, and as many as 500,000 could see the exhibition during its two-month run. Thousands of pictures were displayed, hung from just below eye level all the way up to the ceiling in a manner now known as "Salon style." A successful showing at the salon was a seal of approval for an artist, making his work saleable to the growing ranks of private collectors. Bouguereau
William-Adolphe Bouguereau
William-Adolphe Bouguereau was a French academic painter. William Bouguereau was a traditionalist; in his realistic genre paintings he used mythological themes, making modern interpretations of Classical subjects, with an emphasis on the female human body.-Life and career :William-Adolphe...

, Alexandre Cabanel
Alexandre Cabanel
Alexandre Cabanel was a French painter.- Biography :Cabanel was born in Montpellier, Hérault. He painted historical, classical and religious subjects in the academic style. He was also well known as a portrait painter...

 and Jean-Léon Gérôme
Jean-Léon Gérôme
Jean-Léon Gérôme was a French painter and sculptor in the style now known as Academicism. The range of his oeuvre included historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, portraits and other subjects, bringing the Academic painting tradition to an artistic climax.-Life:Jean-Léon Gérôme was born...

 were leading figures of this art world.

During the reign of academic art, the paintings of the Rococo
Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

 era, previously held in low favor, were revived to popularity, and themes often used in Rococo art such as Eros and Psyche were popular again. The academic art world also idolized Raphael, for the ideality of his work, in fact preferring him over Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

.

Academic art not only held influence in Europe and the United States, but also extended its influence to other Western countries. This was especially true for Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

n nations, which, because their revolutions were modeled on the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, sought to emulate French culture. An example of a Latin American academic artist is Ángel Zárraga
Ángel Zárraga
Ángel Zárraga Argüelles was a Mexican painter. He was founding member of the cultural organization El Ateneo de la Juventud.-Biography:...

 of Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

.

Academic training


Young artists spent four years in rigorous training. In France, only students who passed an exam and carried a letter of reference from a noted professor of art were accepted at the academy's school, the École des Beaux-Arts
École des Beaux-Arts
École des Beaux-Arts refers to a number of influential art schools in France. The most famous is the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, now located on the left bank in Paris, across the Seine from the Louvre, in the 6th arrondissement. The school has a history spanning more than 350 years,...

. Drawings and paintings of the nude, called "académies", were the basic building blocks of academic art and the procedure for learning to make them was clearly defined. First, students copied prints after classical sculptures, becoming familiar with the principles of contour, light, and shade. The copy was believed crucial to the academic education; from copying works of past artists one would assimilate their methods of art making. To advance to the next step, and every successive one, students presented drawings for evaluation.

If approved, they would then draw from plaster casts of famous classical sculptures. Only after acquiring these skills were artists permitted entrance to classes in which a live model posed. Interestingly, painting was not actually taught at the École des Beaux-Arts until after 1863. To learn to paint with a brush, the student first had to demonstrate proficiency in drawing, which was considered the foundation of academic painting. Only then could the pupil join the studio of an academician and learn how to paint. Throughout the entire process, competitions with a predetermined subject and a specific allotted period of time measured each students' progress.

The most famous art competition for students was the Prix de Rome
Prix de Rome
The Prix de Rome was a scholarship for arts students, principally of painting, sculpture, and architecture. It was created, initially for painters and sculptors, in 1663 in France during the reign of Louis XIV. It was an annual bursary for promising artists having proved their talents by...

. The winner of the Prix de Rome was awarded a fellowship to study at the Académie française's school at the Villa Medici
French Academy in Rome
The French Academy in Rome is an Academy located in the Villa Medici, within the Villa Borghese, on the Pincio in Rome, Italy.-History:...

 in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 for up to five years. To compete, an artist had to be of French nationality, male, under 30 years of age, and single. He had to have met the entrance requirements of the École and have the support of a well-known art teacher. The competition was grueling, involving several stages before the final one, in which 10 competitors were sequestered in studios for 72 days to paint their final history paintings. The winner was essentially assured a successful professional career.

As noted, a successful showing at the Salon was a seal of approval for an artist. The ultimate achievement for the professional artist was election to membership in the Académie française and the right to be known as an academician. Artists petitioned the hanging committee for optimal placement "on the line," or at eye level. After the exhibition opened, artists complained if their works were "skyed," or hung too high.

Criticism and legacy


Academic art was first criticised for its use of idealism, by Realist
Realism (arts)
Realism in the visual arts and literature refers to the general attempt to depict subjects "in accordance with secular, empirical rules", as they are considered to exist in third person objective reality, without embellishment or interpretation...

 artists such as Gustave Courbet
Gustave Courbet
Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet was a French painter who led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. The Realist movement bridged the Romantic movement , with the Barbizon School and the Impressionists...

, as being based on idealistic clichés and representing mythical and legendary motives while contemporary social concerns were being ignored. Another criticism by Realists was the "false surface
Licked finish
A licked finish is a hallmark of French academic art. It refers to the process of smoothing the surface quality of a painting so that the presence of the artist's hand is no longer visible...

" of paintings—the objects depicted looked smooth, slick, and idealized—showing no real texture. The Realist Théodule Ribot
Théodule Ribot
Théodule-Augustin Ribot was a French realist painter.He was born in Saint-Nicolas-d'Attez, and studied at the École des Arts et Métiers de Châlons before moving to Paris in 1845. There he found work decorating gilded frames for a mirror manufacturer; he also studied in the studio of...

 worked against this by experimenting with rough, unfinished textures in his painting.

Stylistically, the Impressionists
Impressionism
Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s...

, who advocated quickly painting outdoors exactly what the eye sees and the hand puts down, criticized the finished and idealized painting style. Although academic painters began a painting by first making drawings and then painting oil sketches
Oil paint
Oil paint is a type of slow-drying paint that consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil, commonly linseed oil. The viscosity of the paint may be modified by the addition of a solvent such as turpentine or white spirit, and varnish may be added to increase the glossiness of the...

 of their subject, the high polish they gave to their drawings seemed to the Impressionists tantamount to a lie. After the oil sketch, the artist would produce the final painting with the academic "fini," changing the painting to meet stylistic standards and attempting to idealize the images and add perfect detail. Similarly, perspective
Perspective (visual)
Perspective, in context of vision and visual perception, is the way in which objects appear to the eye based on their spatial attributes; or their dimensions and the position of the eye relative to the objects...

 is constructed geometrically on a flat surface and is not really the product of sight, Impressionists disavowed the devotion to mechanical techniques.

Realists and Impressionists also defied the placement of still-life and landscape at the bottom of the hierarchy of genres. It is important to note that most Realists and Impressionists and others among the early avant-garde who rebelled against academism were originally students in academic ateliers. Claude Monet
Claude Monet
Claude Monet was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. . Retrieved 6 January 2007...

, Gustave Courbet
Gustave Courbet
Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet was a French painter who led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. The Realist movement bridged the Romantic movement , with the Barbizon School and the Impressionists...

, Édouard Manet
Édouard Manet
Édouard Manet was a French painter. One of the first 19th-century artists to approach modern-life subjects, he was a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism....

, and even Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter...

 were students under academic artists.

As modern art
Modern art
Modern art includes artistic works produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the style and philosophy of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of...

 and its avant-garde gained more power, academic art was further denigrated, and seen as sentimental, clichéd, conservative, non-innovative, bourgeois, and "styleless". The French referred derisively to the style of academic art as L'art Pompier
L'art pompier
L'art pompier, literally "Fireman Art", is a derisory late nineteenth century French term for large "official" academic art paintings of the time, especially historical or allegorical ones...

(pompier means "fireman") alluding to the paintings of Jacques-Louis David
Jacques-Louis David
Jacques-Louis David was an influential French painter in the Neoclassical style, considered to be the preeminent painter of the era...

 (who was held in esteem by the academy) which often depicted soldiers wearing fireman-like helmets. The paintings were called "grandes machines" which were said to have manufactured false emotion through contrivances and tricks.

This denigration of academic art reached its peak through the writings of art critic Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg
Clement Greenberg was an American essayist known mainly as an influential visual art critic closely associated with American Modern art of the mid-20th century...

 who stated that all academic art is "kitsch
Kitsch
Kitsch is a form of art that is considered an inferior, tasteless copy of an extant style of art or a worthless imitation of art of recognized value. The concept is associated with the deliberate use of elements that may be thought of as cultural icons while making cheap mass-produced objects that...

". References to academic art were gradually removed from histories of art and textbooks by modernists, who justified doing this in the name of cultural revolution. For most of the 20th century, academic art was completely obscured, only brought up rarely, and when brought up, done so for the purpose of ridiculing it and the bourgeois society which supported it, laying a groundwork for the importance of modernism.

Other artists, such as the Symbolist painters and some of the Surrealists
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

, were kinder to the tradition. As painters who sought to bring imaginary vistas to life, these artists were more willing to learn from a strongly representational tradition. Once the tradition had come to be looked on as old-fashioned, the allegorical
Allegory
Allegory is a demonstrative form of representation explaining meaning other than the words that are spoken. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation...

 nudes and theatrically posed figures struck some viewers as bizarre and dreamlike.

With the goals of Postmodernism
Postmodernism
Postmodernism is a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism, the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth and to be inherently suspicious towards a global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from the...

 in giving a fuller, more sociological and pluralistic account of history, academic art has been brought back into history books and discussion. Nevertheless, since the early 1990s, academic art has experienced a limited resurgence through the Classical Realist
Classical Realism
For Classical Realism in International Relations, see Realism Classical Realism refers to an artistic movement in late 20th century painting that places a high value upon skill and beauty, combining elements of 19th century neoclassicism and realism.-Origins:The term "Classical Realism" first...

 atelier
Atelier Method
Atelier is the French word for "workshop", and in English is used principally for the workshop of an artist in the fine or decorative arts, where a principal master and a number of assistants, students and apprentices worked together producing pieces that went out in the master's name...

 movement. Still, the art is gaining a broader appreciation by the public at large, and whereas academic paintings once would only fetch a few hundreds of dollars in auctions, some now fetch millions.

Belgium

  • Georges Croegaert
    Georges Croegaert
    Georges Croegaert was a Belgian academic painter. He was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1848, and spent most of his life in Paris. Croegaert is associated with both classicism and anti-clerical art.-References:...

    , painter
  • Jan August Hendrik Leys
    Jan August Hendrik Leys
    Jan August Hendrik, Baron Leys , also known as Henri Leys, was a Belgian painter and printmaker.Henri Leys was born and died in Antwerp. He studied with Mathieu Ignace Van Brée at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp and then with his brother-in-law Ferdinand De Braekeleer...

    , painter
  • Alfred Stevens
    Alfred Stevens (painter)
    Alfred Émile Léopold Stevens was a Belgian painter.Alfred Stevens was born in Brussels. He came from a family involved with the visual arts: his older brother Joseph and his son Léopold were painters, while another brother Arthur was an art dealer and critic...

    , painter

Brazil


  • Victor Meirelles
    Victor Meirelles
    Victor Meirelles de Lima was a 19th century painter. He studied art in Paris but painted most of his works in and about his native Brazil. His religious and military paintings helped him become one of the most popular and celebrated Brazilian painters...

    , painter
  • Pedro Américo
    Pedro Américo
    Pedro Américo de Figueiredo e Melo was one of the most important academic painters of Brazil. He was also a writer and a teacher....

    , painter
  • Rodolfo Amoedo
    Rodolfo Amoedo
    Rodolfo Amoedo was a Brazilian history painter. He began his career as an artist in 1873 as a student of Victor Meirelles. In 1878 he won the first prize at the Brazilian Academy, which allowed him to travel to Paris, where he lived from 1879 to 1887 studying at the École des Beaux Arts...

    , painter
  • Rodolpho Bernardelli, sculptor

Canada

  • William Brymner
    William Brymner
    William Brymner, CMG was a Canadian art teacher and a figure and landscape painter.-Early years:Born in Greenock, Scotland, the son of Douglas Brymner the first Dominion Archivist and Jean Thomson, he moved with his family to Melbourne, Lower Canada in 1857. In 1864, his family moved to Montreal...

    , painter
  • Robert Harris
    Robert Harris (painter)
    Robert Harris was a Welsh-born Canadian painter most noted for his portrait of the Fathers of Confederation....

    , painter
  • Paul Kane
    Paul Kane
    Paul Kane was an Irish-born Canadian painter, famous for his paintings of First Nations peoples in the Canadian West and other Native Americans in the Oregon Country....

    , painter
  • Cornelius Krieghoff
    Cornelius Krieghoff
    Cornelius David Krieghoff is probably the most popular Canadian painter of the 19th century. Krieghoff is most famous for his paintings of Canadian landscapes and Canadian life outdoors, which were sought-after in his own time as they are today. He is particularly famous for his winter scenes,...

    , painter
  • Paul Peel
    Paul Peel
    Paul Peel was a Canadian academic painter. Having won a medal at the 1890 Paris Salon, he became one of the first Canadian artists to receive international recognition in his lifetime.-Career and life:...

    , painter
  • Suzor-Coté
    Marc Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté
    Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté was a Canadian painter and sculptor.He was born in Arthabaska, Quebec in 1869. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris with Léon Bonnat during the 1890s...

    , painter

France

  • Alfred Agache
    Alfred Agache (painter)
    Alfred-Pierre Joseph Agache , also known simply as Alfred Agache, was a French academic painter....

    , painter
  • Louis-Ernest Barrias
    Louis-Ernest Barrias
    Louis-Ernest Barrias was a French sculptor of the Beaux-Arts school.He was born in Paris into a family of artists. His father was a porcelain-painter, and his older brother Félix-Joseph Barrias a well-known painter...

    , sculptor
  • Paul Baudry, painter
  • Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse
    Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse
    Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse was a French sculptor and painter.- Life :Carrier-Belleuse was a student of David d'Angers and briefly at the École des Beaux-Arts...

    , sculptor
  • Leon Bonnat
    Léon Bonnat
    Léon Joseph Florentin Bonnat was a French painter.He was born in Bayonne, but from 1846 to 1853 he lived in Madrid, where his father owned a bookshop. While tending his father's shop, he copied engravings of works by the Old Masters, developing a passion for drawing...

    , painter
  • William-Adolphe Bouguereau
    William-Adolphe Bouguereau
    William-Adolphe Bouguereau was a French academic painter. William Bouguereau was a traditionalist; in his realistic genre paintings he used mythological themes, making modern interpretations of Classical subjects, with an emphasis on the female human body.-Life and career :William-Adolphe...

    , painter
  • Charles Edward Boutibonne
    Charles Edward Boutibonne
    Charles Edward Boutibonne was a French painter of the academic classicism school....

    ,
  • Charles Joshua Chaplin
    Charles Joshua Chaplin
    Charles Joshua Chaplin was a French painter and engraver. He was born in Les Andelys, Eure, France to an English father and a French mother. Although he spent the whole of his life in France, he only became naturalized in 1886. He died in Paris, France.Chaplin conducted art classes specifically...

    , painter
  • Pierre Auguste Cot
    Pierre Auguste Cot
    Pierre Auguste Cot was a French painter of the Academic Classicism school.-Biography:He was born in Bédarieux, Hérault and initially studied at l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse before going to Paris. He studied under Leon Cogniet, Alexandre Cabanel and William-Adolphe Bouguereau...

    , painter
  • Thomas Couture
    Thomas Couture
    Thomas Couture was an influential French history painter and teacher. Couture taught such later luminaries of the art world as Édouard Manet, Henri Fantin-Latour, John La Farge, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Karel Javůrek, and J-N Sylvestre.-Life:He was born at Senlis, Oise, France...

    , painter
  • Alexandre Cabanel
    Alexandre Cabanel
    Alexandre Cabanel was a French painter.- Biography :Cabanel was born in Montpellier, Hérault. He painted historical, classical and religious subjects in the academic style. He was also well known as a portrait painter...

    , painter
  • Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps
    Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps
    ]Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps was a French painter.He was born in Paris. In his youth he travelled in the East, and reproduced Oriental life and scenery with a bold fidelity to nature that puzzled conventional critics...

    , painter
  • Paul Delaroche, painter
  • Delphin Enjolras
    Delphin Enjolras
    Delphin Enjolras was a French academic painter. Enjolras painted portraits, nudes, interiors, and used mostly watercolours, oil and pastels. He is best known for his intimate portraits of young women performing mundane activities such as reading or sewing, often by illuminated by lamplight...

    , painter
  • Alexandre Falguière
    Alexandre Falguière
    Jean Alexandre Joseph Falguière was a French sculptor and painter.He was born in Toulouse...

    , sculptor
  • Jean-Léon Gérôme
    Jean-Léon Gérôme
    Jean-Léon Gérôme was a French painter and sculptor in the style now known as Academicism. The range of his oeuvre included historical painting, Greek mythology, Orientalism, portraits and other subjects, bringing the Academic painting tradition to an artistic climax.-Life:Jean-Léon Gérôme was born...

    , painter and sculptor
  • Jean-Jacques Henner
    Jean-Jacques Henner
    Jean-Jacques Henner was a French painter, noted for his use of sfumato and chiaroscuro in painting nudes, religious subjects, and portraits....

    , painter
  • Paul Jamin
    Paul Jamin
    Paul Joseph Jamin was a French painter of the Academic Classicism school. He was the son of the renowned physicist Jules Jamin. He married Augustine Marie Caroline Bastien in 1882, with whom he had four children...

    , painter
  • Jean-Paul Laurens
    Jean-Paul Laurens
    Jean-Paul Laurens , was a French painter and sculptor, and one of the last major exponents of the French Academic style.Born in Fourquevaux, he was a pupil of Léon Cogniet and Alexandre Bida...

    , painter and sculptor
  • Jules Joseph Lefebvre
    Jules Joseph Lefebvre
    Jules Joseph Lefebvre was a French figure painter.Lefebvre entered the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in 1852 and was a pupil of Léon Cogniet. He won the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1861. Between 1855 and 1898, he exhibited 72 portraits in the Paris Salon...

    , painter
  • Georges Paul Leroux, painter, illustrator
  • Marius Jean Antonin Mercie, sculptor
  • Emile Munier
    Emile Munier
    Émile Munier was a French academic artist and student of William-Adolphe Bouguereau.Émile Munier was born in Paris and lived with his family at 66 rue des Fossés, St. Marcel...

    , painter
  • Léon Bazile Perrault
    Léon Bazile Perrault
    Léon-Jean-Bazille Perrault was a French painter.A student of William Bouguereau and François-Edouard Picot, he exhibited at the Salon from 1863 onwards, producing several works, in the academic tradition...

    , painter
  • Georges Rochegrosse
    Georges Rochegrosse
    Georges Antoine Rochegrosse was a French historical and decorative painter.He was born at Versailles and studied in Paris with Jules Joseph Lefebvre and Gustave Clarence Rodolphe Boulanger. His themes are generally historical, and he treated them on a colossal scale and in an emotional...

    , painter
  • Guillaume Seignac
    Guillaume Seignac
    -Childhood:He was born in Rennes, France, in 1870, and died in 1924. He started training at the Académie Julian in Paris, where he spent 1889 through 1895. He had a lot of teachers there, including Gabriel Ferrier, and Tony Robert-Fluery. Tony Robert Fluery was a noted history and genre artist....

    , painter
  • Auguste Toulmouche
    Auguste Toulmouche
    Auguste Toulmouche was a French painter.He studied with Charles Gleyre and is known mainly for his portraits of Parisian women; Émile Zola spoke of "Toulmouche's delicious dolls."...

    , painter

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Germany

  • Anselm Feuerbach
    Anselm Feuerbach
    Anselm Feuerbach was a German painter. He was the leading classicist painter of the German 19th-century school.-Biography:...

    , painter
  • Wilhelm von Kaulbach
    Wilhelm von Kaulbach
    Wilhelm von Kaulbach was a German painter, noted mainly as a muralist, but also as a book illustrator. His murals decorate buildings in Munich.-Education:...

    , painter
  • Franz von Lenbach
    Franz von Lenbach
    Franz von Lenbach was a German painter of Realist style.-Biography:Lenbach was born at Schrobenhausen, in Bavaria. His father was a mason, and the boy was intended to follow his father's trade or be a builder. With this view he was sent to school at Landsberg, and then to the polytechnic at Augsburg...

    , painter
  • Karl von Piloty
    Karl von Piloty
    Karl Theodor von Piloty was a German painter.Von Piloty was born in Munich. His father, Ferdinand Piloty , enjoyed a great reputation as a lithographer. In 1840, Karl was admitted as a student of the Munich Academy, under the artists Karl Schorn and Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld...

    , painter

Italy

  • Eugene de Blaas
    Eugene de Blaas
    Eugene de Blaas, also known as Eugene von Blaas or Eugenio de Blaas was an Italian painter in the school known as Academic Classicism. He was born at Albano, near Rome, to Austrian parents. His father Karl, a Jew and also a painter, was his teacher. The family moved to Venice when Karl became...

    , painter
  • Francesco Hayez
    Francesco Hayez
    Francesco Hayez was an Italian painter, the leading artist of Romanticism in mid-19th-century Milan, renowned for his grand historical paintings, political allegories and exceptionally fine portraits.-Biography:...

    , painter
  • Domenico Morelli
    Domenico Morelli
    Domenico Morelli was an Italian painter, one of the most important Neapolitan artists of the 19th century. He enrolled at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Naples in 1836. His early works are Romantic and contain imagery drawn from the Middle Ages and Byron...

    , painter

Russia

  • Karl Briullov
    Karl Briullov
    Karl Pavlovich Bryullov , also transliterated Briullov or Briuloff and referred to by his friends as "The Great Karl", was a Russian painter...

    , painter
  • Fyodor Bruni, painter
  • Alexander Ivanov
    Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov
    Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov , 1806 – July 15 , 1858) was a Russian painter who adhered to the waning tradition of Neoclassicism but found little sympathy with his contemporaries....

    , painter
  • Konstantin Makovsky
    Konstantin Makovsky
    Konstantin Yegorovich Makovsky was an influential Russian painter, affiliated with the "Peredvizhniki ". Many of his historical paintings, such as The Russian Bride's Attire , showed an idealized view of Russian life of prior centuries...

    , painter

United Kingdom

  • Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, painter
  • Sir Alfred Gilbert, sculptor
  • Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton
    Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton
    Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton PRA , known as Sir Frederic Leighton, Bt, between 1886 and 1896, was an English painter and sculptor. His works depicted historical, biblical and classical subject matter...

    , painter/sculptor
  • Albert Moore
    Albert Joseph Moore
    Albert Joseph Moore was an English painter, known for his depictions of langorous female figures set against the luxury and decadence of the classical world....

    , painter
  • Sir Edward John Poynter, painter
  • Alfred Stevens
    Alfred Stevens (sculptor)
    Alfred Stevens , British sculptor, was born at Blandford Forum in Dorset.He was the son of a house painter and in the early part of his career he painted pictures in his spare time. In 1833, the rector of his parish enabled him to go to Italy, where he spent nine years studying at Naples, Pompeii,...

    , sculptor
  • George Frederic Watts
    George Frederic Watts
    George Frederic Watts, OM was a popular English Victorian painter and sculptor associated with the Symbolist movement. Watts became famous in his lifetime for his allegorical works, such as Hope and Love and Life...

    , painter


Books

  • Art and the Academy in the Nineteenth Century. (2000). Denis, Rafael Cordoso & Trodd, Colin (Eds). Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-2795-3
  • L'Art-Pompier. (1998). Lécharny, Louis-Marie, Que sais-je?, Presses Universitaires de France. ISBN 2-13-049341-6
  • L'Art pompier: immagini, significati, presenze dell'altro Ottocento francese (1860-1890). (1997). Luderin, Pierpaolo, Pocket library of studies in art, Olschki. ISBN 88-222-4559-8

External links