1902 Encyclopedia > Academy > Academies of Fine Arts

(Part 6)


Russia. -- The academy at St Petersburg was established by the Empress Elizabeth, at the suggestion of Count Shuvaloff, and annexed to the Academy of Sciences. The fund for its support was 4000 pound per annum, and the foundation admitted forty scholars. Catherine II. formed it into a separate institution, augmented the annual revenue to 12,000 pound, and increased the number of scholars to three hundred; she also constructed, for the use and accommodation of the members, a large circular building, which fronts the neva. The scholars are admitted at the age of six, and continue until they have attained that of eighteen. They are clothed, fed, and lodged at the expense of the crown; and are all instructed in reading and writing, arithmetic, the French and German languages, and drawing. At the age of fourteen they are at liberty to choose any of the following arts, divided into four classes, viz., first, painting in all its branches of history portraits, war-pieces, and landscapes, architecture, mosaic, enamelling, &c., secondly, engraving on copperplates, seal-cutting, &c.,; thirdly, carving on wood, ivory, and amber; fourthly, watch-making, turning, instrument making, casting statues in bronze and other metals, imitating gems and medals in paste and other compositions, gilding, and varnishing. Prizes are annually distributed to those who excel in any particular art; and, from those who have obtained four prizes, twelve are selected, who are sent abroad at the charge of the crown. A certain sum is paid to defray their traveling expenses; and when they are settled in any town, they receive an annual salary 60 pound, which is continued during four year. There is a small assortment of paintings for the use of the scholars; and those who have made great progress are permitted to copy the pictures in the imperial collection. For the purpose of design, there are models in plaster, all done at Rome, of the best antique statues in Italy, and of the same size with the originals, which the artists of the academy were employed to cast in bronze.

France. -- The Academy of Painting and Sculpture at Paris was founded by Louis XIV.in 1648, under the title of Academie Royale des Beaux Arts, to which was afterwards united the Academy of Architecture, erected 1671. The academy is composed of painters, sculptors, architects, engravers, and musical composers. From among the members of the society, who are painters, is chosen the director of the French Academie des Baeux Arts at Berne also instituted by Louis XIV.in 1677. The director's province is to superintend the studies of the painters, sculptors, &c., who, having been chosen by competition, are sent to Italy at the expense of the Government, to compete their studies in that country. Most of the celebrated French painters have begun their career in this way.

The Royal Academy of Music is the name which, by a strange perversion of language, is given in France to the grand opera. In 1571 the poet Baif established in his house an academy or school of music, at which ballets and masquerades were given. In 1645 Mazarin brought from Italy a troupe of actors, and established them in the Rue du Petit Bourbon, where they executed Jules Strozzi's "Achille in Sciro," the first opera performed in France. After Moliere's death in 1673, his theatre in the Palais Royal was given to Sulli, and there were performed all Gluck's great operas; there Vestris danced, and there was produced Jean Jacques Rousseau's "Devin du Village."

Italy. -- In 1778 an Academy of Painting and Sculpture was established at Turin. The meetings were held in the palace of the king, who distributed prizes among the most successful members. In Milan an Academy of Architecture was established so early as the year 1380, by Galeas Visconti. About the middle of the last century an Academy of the Arts was established there, after the example of those at Paris and Rome. The pupils were furnished with original and models, and prizes were distributed annually. The prize for painting was a gold medal, and no prize was bestowed till all the competing pieces had been subjected to the examination and criticism of competent judges. Before the effects of the French Revolution reached Italy this was one of the best establishments of the kind in that kingdom. In the hall of the academy were some admirable pieces of Correggio, as well as several ancient paintings and statues of great merit,- particularly a small bust of Vitellus, and a statue of Agrippina, of most exquisite beauty, though it wants the head and arms. The Academy of the Arts, which had been long established at Florence, fell into decay, but was restored in the end of last century. In it there are halls for nude and plaster figures, for the use of the sculptor and the painter. The ball for plaster figures had models of all the finest statues in Italy, arranged in two lines; but the treasures of this and the other institutions for the fine arts were greatly diminished during the occupancy of Italy by the French. In the saloon of the Academy of the Arts at Modena there are many casts of antique statues; but after being plundered by the French it dwindled into a petty school for drawings from living models; it contains the skull of Correggio. There is also an Academy of the Fine Arts in Mantua, and another at Venice.

Spain. -- In Madrid an Academy for Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture, was founded by Philip V. The minister for foreign affairs is president. Prizes are distributed every three years. In Cadiz a few students are supplied by Government with the means of drawing and modeling from figures; and such as are not able to purchase the requisite instruments are provided with them.

Sweden. -- An Academy of the Fine Arts was founded at Stockholm in the year 1733 by Count Tessin. In its hall are the ancient figures of plaster presented by Louis XIV. to Charles XI. The works of the students are publicly exhibited, and prizes are distributed annually. Such of the as display distinguished ability obtain pensions from Government, to enable them to reside u Italy for some years, for the purposes of investigation and improvement. In this academy there are nine professors, and generally about four hundred students. In the year 1705 an Academy of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture was established at Vienna, with the view of encouraging and promoting the fine arts.

England. -- The Royal Academy of Arts in London was instituted for the encouragement of designing, painting, sculpture, &c., in the year 1768, with Sir J. Reynolds for its president. This academy is under the immediate patronage of the queen, and under the direction of forty artists of the first rank in their several professions. It furnished, in winter, living models of different characters to draw after; and in summer, models of the same kind to paint after. Nine of the ablest academicians are annually elected out of the forty, whose business it is to attend by rotation, to set the figures, to examine the performance of the students, and to give them necessary instructions. There are likewise professors of painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy, and chemistry, who annually read public lectures on the subjects of their several departments; besides a president, a council, and other officers. The admission to this academy is free to all students properly qualified to reap advantage from the studies cultivated in it; and there is an annual exhibition at Burlington House of paintings, sculptures, and designs, open to all artists of distinguished merit.

The Academy of Ancient Music was established in London in 1710, by several persons of distinction, and other amateurs, in conjunction with the most eminent masters of the time, with the view of promoting the study and practice of vocal and instrumental harmony. This institution, which had the advantage of a library, consisting of the most celebrated compositions, both foreign and domestic, in manuscript and in print, and which was aided by the performance of the gentlemen of the chapel royal, and the choir of St Paul's, with the boys belonging to each, continued to flourish for many years. In 1731 a charge of plagiarism brought against Bononcini, a member of the academy, for claiming a madrigal of Lotti of Venice as his own, threatened the existence of the institution. Dr Greene, who had introduced the madrigal into the academy, took part with Bononcini, and withdrew from the society, taking with him the boys of St Paul's. In 1734 Mr Gates, another member of the society, and master of the children of the royal chapel, also retired in disgust; so that the institution was thus deprived of the assistance which the boys afforded it in singing the soprano parts. From this time the academy became a seminary for the instruction of youth in the principles of music and the laws of harmony. Dr Pepusch, who was one of its founders, was active in accomplishing this measure; and by the expedient of educating boys for their purpose, and admitting auditor members, the subsistence of the academy was continued. The Royal Academy of Music was formed by the principal nobility and gentry of the kingdom, for the performance of operas, composed by Handel, and conducted by him at the theatre in the Hay-market. The subscription amounted to 50,000 pound and the king, besides subscribing 1000 pound, allowed the society to assume the title of Royal Academy. It consisted of a governor, deputy-governor, and twenty directors. A contest between Handel and Senesino, one of the performers, in which the directors took the part of the latter, occasioned the dissolution of the academy, after it had subsisted with reputation for more than nine years. The present Royal Academy of Music dates from 1822, and was incorporated in 1830 under the patronage of the queen. It instructs pupils of both sexes in music, charging 33 guineas per annum; but many receive instruction free. It also gives public concerts. In this institution the leading instrumentalists and vocalists of England have received their education. (See Musical Directory published by Rudall, Carte, and Co.)

ACADEMY is a term also applied to those royal collegiate seminaries in which young men are educated for the navy and army. In our country there are three colleges of this description-the Royal Naval College at Portsmouth, the Royal Military Academy at Woolrich, and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. (F. S.)

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The above article was written by: Francis Storr, M.A., editor of the Journal of Education; Master of Marlborough College, 1864-75; Merchant Taylors' School, 1875-1901; author of Tables of Irregular Greek Verbs, a translation of Heine's prose works, etc.

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