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Abildgaard, Nicolai Abraham  

Jens Peter Munk

(b Copenhagen, Sept 11, 1743; d Frederiksdal, Copenhagen, June 4, 1809).

Danish painter, designer and architect. His paintings reveal both Neo-classical and Romantic interests and include history paintings as well as literary and mythological works. The variety of his subject-matter reflects his wide learning, a feature further evidenced by the broad range of his creative output. In addition to painting, he produced decorative work, sculpture and furniture designs, as well as being engaged as an architect. Successfully combining both intellectual and imaginative powers, he came to be fully appreciated only in the 1980s.

He studied at the Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi in Copenhagen (1764–72), and in 1767 he assisted Johan Edvard Mandelberg (1730–86) in painting the domed hall of the Fredensborg Slot with scenes from the Homeric epic the Iliad. In 1772 he was granted a five-year travelling scholarship from the Kunstakademi to study in Rome. During his Roman sojourn he extensively copied works of art from the period of antiquity up to that of the Carracci family. His friendships with the Danish painter Jens Juel, the Swedish sculptor Johan Tobias Sergel and the Swiss painter Johann Heinrich Fuseli placed him among artists who were in the mainstream of a widespread upheaval in European art. In these years Abildgaard developed both Neo-classical and Romantic tastes; his masterpiece of the period is ...


Académie des Beaux-Arts (Paris)  

Paul Duro

Academy of fine arts in Paris, France, founded in 1795. It assimilated most of the functions of the disbanded Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. Its role included directing the grands prix competitions; distributing honours in a séance publique held in October; composing a Dictionnaire des beaux-arts; directing the Académie de France; forming the jury of the Salon in the 19th century; and, with little legitimate authority, exercising its influence over the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. As well as its concern with painting and sculpture, it took over the function of the Académie Royale d’Architecture, suppressed in 1793.

Two years after the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture had been abolished (8 August 1793), the Convention Nationale resurrected the principle of an academy of fine art. On 25 October 1795 the Troisième Classe (Littérature et Beaux-Arts) of the Institut National was formed. The Classe was divided into eight sections, sections five and six concerning painting and sculpture, and including ...


Académie Royale d’Architecture (Paris)  

Richard Cleary

Academy of architecture in Paris, France, which played a central role in shaping architectural theory and pedagogy in Europe and the Americas from the late 17th century to the mid-20th. Although it was suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution and subsequently absorbed by the Académie des Beaux-Arts of the Institut de France, its traditions were preserved and disseminated widely by the architectural section of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts until 1968, when the French government thoroughly reorganized architectural education.

The Académie Royale d’Architecture was founded in 1671 by Louis XIV (see Bourbon, House of family, §I, (8)), under the advice of his minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, as part of a policy gathering artistic, scientific and humanistic inquiry under direct royal control. Its charge was to set aesthetic and technical standards of excellence for architectural practice by elaborating a doctrine, establishing a school and reviewing projects for buildings and other structures. These tasks furthered the Crown’s interests by supplanting the independence of the builders’ guilds and by dedicating a pool of experts to the creation of an architecture glorifying the monarchy....


Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture  

Paul Duro

[Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture]

Academy of fine arts in Paris, France, founded in 1648 during the reign of Louis XIV (reg 1643–1715; see Bourbon, House of family, §I, (8)) and abolished by the revolutionary Convention Nationale in 1793. It transformed art production in France from a craft-based activity to a profession that enjoyed the respect of monarchy and state, and won the envy of foreign rivals. Its principal activities centred on its art school, the Ecole Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which taught art theory and drawing; the Académie de France in Rome, which gave winners of the Prix de Rome competition the opportunity to study the classical tradition at first hand; the conférences, which publicly debated current issues in art theory; and the Salons, exhibitions of members’ work that served to increase the public profile of the institution.

Before the Académie’s foundation in 1648, the guildsmen of the Corporation of St Luke (also known as the Communauté des Maîtres Peintres et Sculpteurs de Paris or the Maîtrise) had enjoyed the right of monopoly over art production. Only the ...



Humphrey Wine

Association or school of artists organized as a professional institution with a view to providing training, theoretical debate and exhibiting opportunities, and to mediate between its members and patrons or public. The word ‘academy’ derives from the ancient Greek ‘akademeia’, the name of the grove near Athens where Plato taught his pupils philosophy. In early modern times the term was first used in 15th-century Italy to describe meetings of literati, but from the 16th century it was adopted by those artists’ corporations that included teaching as one of their main purposes, particularly teaching with an intellectual as opposed to a purely manual content. Drawing after antique statuary and from the live model (see Academy figure) played a preponderant part in this teaching, although anatomy, geometry, perspective, history and other disciplines were variously included in the curricula of academies. From around 1600 the academic idea spread from Italy to France, Spain and the Netherlands. It was in France under ...


Accademia di S Luca  

Olivier Michel


Olivier Michel

Professional Italian institution established in 1577 to replace the old artists’ guild in Rome, the Università dei Pittori, and to provide for the education of young artists. During the later 17th century and the 18th it dominated artistic life in Romkumbers. Although its importance diminished in the 19th century, it continues in existence and preserves a notable collection of documents in its archives and art works in its gallery. (For an account of the Accademia’s place in the development of art academies see Academy §2)

A papal brief issued by Gregory XIII on 13 October 1577 decreed the creation of an academy of fine arts named after St Luke to replace the Università dei Pittori (see Rome §III 3. above), then over a century old. The initiative behind the establishment of the Accademia di S Luca, however, came from Girolamo Muziano, who was entrusted with defining the broad aims on which the activities of the new institution were to be based. On ...


Ackerman, Phyllis  

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

(b. Oakland, CA, 1893; d. Shiraz, Iran, 25 Jan. 1977).

American historian of Iranian art. While studying mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, Ackerman met and eventually married Arthur Upham Pope, with whom she had taken courses in philosophy and aesthetics. In 1926 she and Pope organized the first ever exhibition of Persian art at the Pennsylvania Museum and helped create the First International Congress of Oriental Art. In 1930 Ackerman was stricken with polio but taught herself to walk again. They were instrumental in preparing the 1931 Persian Art Exhibition at Burlington House, London, and the Second International Congress of Iranian Art and Archaeology, as well as the Third Congress in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1935 and the exhibition of Iranian art at the Iranian Institute in New York in 1940. She visited Iran for the first time in 1964, when the shah of Iran invited Pope to revive the Asia Institute; it was associated with Pahlavi University in Shiraz until ...


Adnan, Etel  

Andrew Weiner

(b Beirut, 1925).

Lebanese painter and writer active in the USA. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Adnan was educated in Lebanon before going on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and the University of California, Berkeley. For many years she taught aesthetics at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA; she also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities. During the 1970s Adnan regularly contributed editorials, essays, and cultural criticism to the Beirut-based publications Al-Safa and L’Orient-Le Jour. In 1978 she published the novel Sitt Marie Rose, which won considerable acclaim for its critical portrayal of cultural and social politics during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War. Adnan published numerous books of poetry, originating in her opposition to the American war in Vietnam and proceeding to encompass topics as diverse as the landscape of Northern California and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Her poetry served as the basis for numerous works of theater and contemporary classical music....


Aigner, Chrystian Piotr  

Andrzej Rottermund

(b Puławy, June 1756; d Florence, Feb 8, 1841).

Polish architect and writer, also active in Italy. He probably studied in Rome in the late 1770s and returned to Italy in 1785–6 under the aegis of Stanisław Kostka Potocki, a collector and amateur architect with whom he collaborated throughout his life. In 1786 Aigner and Potocki refronted the church of St Anna, Warsaw, using a giant composite order on high pedestals. The political turmoil of the 1790s disrupted Aigner’s career, but during his second phase of creativity (1797–1816) he won fame through his work on the great estate of the Czartoryski family at Puławy, on the Vistula west of Lublin, the most important centre of cultural life in Poland during the Enlightenment. Aigner had already erected the Marynka Palace there in 1790, a variation on the Petit Trianon at Versailles, France, and from 1798 he began to add ornamental buildings to go with the new Picturesque layout of the Puławy gardens: a Chinese pavilion, a Gothick house and a peripheral Temple of the Sibyl with a shallow dome. In ...


Albers, Josef  

Nicholas Fox Weber

(b Bottrop, Ruhr, March 19, 1888; d New Haven, CT, March 25, 1976).

American painter, printmaker, sculptor, designer, writer and teacher. He worked from 1908 to 1913 as a schoolteacher in Bottrop and from 1913 to 1915 trained as an art teacher at the Königliche Kunstschule in Berlin, where he was exposed to many current art movements and to the work of such Old Masters as Dürer and Holbein. His figurative drawings of the next few years, which he kept hidden and which were discovered only after his death (many now in Orange, CT, Albers Found.), show that he applied these influences to his consistent concern with the simplest and most effective means of communicating his subject; he drew rabbits, schoolgirls and the local landscape in as dispassionate and impersonal a manner as possible. After his studies in Berlin he returned to Bottrop and from 1916 to 1919 began his work as a printmaker at the Kunstgewerbeschule in nearby Essen. In 1919 he went to Munich to study at the Königliche Bayerische Akademie der Bildenden Kunst, where he produced a number of nude drawings and Bavarian landscapes (Orange, CT, Albers Found.)...


Albertolli, Ferdinando  

Giuliana Ricci

(b Bedano, Nov 11, 1780; d Milan, April 24, 1844).

Swiss architect, printmaker, designer and teacher, nephew of Giocondo Albertolli. He married Giocondo’s daughter Maria. He studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan and won the first prize for design in 1806. From 1804 he taught design and architecture at the high school in Verona and in 1807 became professor of design at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice. In 1812 he succeeded his uncle as professor of design at the Brera, where he taught almost until his death. His publications drew on his stay in Verona and in Venice; he also travelled to Tuscany, Rome, Greece and London (where he went to gather material on some Greek friezes for publication) and, according to his uncle’s account, to Naples and Paris.

In 1838 he became an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and in 1843 was nominated a member of the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Vienna. He constructed some buildings in Genoa (from ...


Albertolli, Giacomo  

Giuliana Ricci

(b Mugena, nr Lugano, 1761; d Milan, Jan 6, 1805).

Swiss teacher and architect, nephew of Giocondo Albertolli. He studied at the Accademia di Brera and finished his training at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Parma. Of his collaboration with Piermarini, of which he boasted, only his contribution to decorations for the Festa della Federazione (1797) is documented. From 1783 he was in Parma, in 1793 in Verona and in 1797 in Padua, where he taught at the seminary as an instructor in civil architecture. He was subsequently employed as public works architect and as inspector and director of the school of architecture in the university in Padua. Dismissed as a francophile by the Austrian government after the Treaty of Campoformio (1797), he went to Milan where he was appointed to the chair of architecture in 1798. In 1799 he was suspended from his post on the return of the Austrians and was reappointed on the return of the French. In his teaching, he introduced the study of Greek antiquities, as illustrated in the publications of Le Roy, James Stuart and Nicholas Revett. From ...


Albertolli, (Giuseppe) Giocondo  

Giuliana Ricci

(b Bedano, July 24, 1742; d Milan, Nov 15, 1839).

Swiss architect, decorator and teacher. He was educated in Aosta and was then sent by his father to Parma to stay with his uncle, a stuccoist. He finished his training in the local Accademia di Belle Arti where he was awarded prizes in 1766 and 1768. He worked first in Parma, executing decorations in S Brigida (1765), decorations from a design by Ennemond-Alexandre Petitot for a triumphal arch (1768, destr. 1859) for the wedding celebrations of Ferdinand, Duke of Parma, and Maria Amalia of Austria and ceiling decorations in the palace of the Duca di Grillo (begun 1769). From 1770 to 1775 Giocondo carried out the stuccowork in the Gran Salone of the villa of Poggio Imperiale, outside Florence, for Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany. French designs were sent from Vienna, and the resulting room, later painted white, recalls the Petit Trianon, Versailles, though the scale is very large, with a Corinthian order of pilasters along the walls. These serve to mark off the garlands, trophies and low reliefs in frames that are applied in decoration. During his time in Florence he became familiar with Tuscan stuccowork of the 15th and 16th centuries, which was fundamental for his future career. Giocondo’s personal style was also influenced by a visit he made to Rome, Naples, Pompeii and Herculaneum. On that occasion he executed models of Corinthian capitals for the church of the Annunciation in Naples for the architect ...


Alston, Charles  

Deborah Cullen

(Henry) [Spinky]

(b Charlotte, NC, Nov 29, 1907; d April 27, 1977).

African American painter, sculptor, graphic artist, muralist and educator. In 1913, Charles Alston’s family relocated from North Carolina to New York where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School. In 1929, he attended Columbia College and then Teachers College at Columbia University, where he obtained his MFA in 1931. Alston’s art career began while he was a student, creating illustrations for Opportunity magazine and album covers for jazz musician Duke Ellington.

Alston was a groundbreaking educator and mentor. He directed the Harlem Arts Workshop and then initiated the influential space known simply as “306,” which ran from 1934 to 1938. He taught at the Works Progress Administration’s Harlem Community Art Center and was supervisor of the Harlem Hospital Center murals, leading 35 artists as the first African American project supervisor of the Federal Art Project. His two murals reveal the influence of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886–1957). His artwork ranged from the comic to the abstract, while often including references to African art. During World War II, he worked at the Office of War Information and Public Information, creating cartoons and posters to mobilize the black community in the war effort....


Alternative spaces in America  

Virginie Bobin

Exhibition space that is not run by an institution or commercial organization is often described as an alternative space. The phenomenon of alternative spaces in the United States is usually associated with the blooming of numerous not-for-profit artist-run spaces in the 1970s, although important precedents can be found as far as in 1862, when the Art Building Gallery in Chicago was founded to provide free exhibition space to artists. Providing fees and decision-power to artists, promoting conceptual and video, installation or action art, collective practices and social and political commitment, alternative spaces radically contributed to redefine the position of the artist and the form of the exhibition in the United States. Since then, the acceptance of the term has shifted to a more general opposition to mainstream institutions, such as museums and commercial galleries.

Generally considered the first small nonprofit organizations initiated by and for visual artists, 98 Greene Street, Apple, and 112 Workshop (now White Columns) opened in New York in ...


American Academy of Fine Arts  

Grischka Petri

American institution and art school promoting fine art that was active between 1802 and 1841 in New York. The Academy was the second art academy established in the USA, following the Columbianum Academy of Philadelphia. It was founded in 1802 as the New York Academy of the Fine Arts by its first president, mayor Edward Livingston, and his brother Robert R. Livingston, president from 1804 to 1813. The Academy’s first task was to procure plaster casts from antique statues in the Musée du Louvre, Paris. With the exception of this permanent exhibition, however, the institution largely languished. In 1804 it changed its name to the American Academy of the Arts, finally being incorporated in 1808.

After his return to the USA in 1815, John Trumbull became a main force behind the Academy’s reactivation. In 1816, its first exhibition in new rooms was highly successful. Succeeding DeWitt Clinton as president in ...


American Federation of Arts  

Klaus Ottmann

American not-for-profit organization founded in 1909 that initiates and organizes art exhibitions and provides educational and professional programs in collaboration with the museum community. Established by an act of Congress in 1909, after former Secretary of State and US Senator Elihu Root called for the founding of an organization “whose purpose is to promote the study of art, the cultivation of public taste, and the application of art to the development of material conditions in our country,” the American Federation of Arts (AFA) is one of the oldest art organizations in the country and serves nearly 300 museum members in the USA and abroad. Root’s then revolutionary proposal was unanimously endorsed by representatives of 80 American art institutions in attendance. Among the 35 founders, in addition to Root, were presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft, as well as artist William Merritt Chase and businessmen Mellon, Andrew W(illiam), and J(ohn) Pierpont Morgan...


Anivitti, Giulio  

Pamela Bell

(b Rome,1850; d Rome, July 2, 1881).

Italian painter and art teacher active in Australia. He trained at the Accademia di S Luca, Rome. His conservative style emulates his teacher Alessandro Capalti’s use of drape, column and rhetorical gesture, as seen in Capalti’s portraits at the University of Sydney. On Bishop James Quinn’s advice, Anivitti emigrated to Brisbane in 1871 with the sculptor Achille Simonetti. In 1875 he was appointed first teacher of painting and drawing at the Art Training School of the New South Wales Academy of Art, founded in 1871. Among his 30 recorded pupils were medal winners Frank Mahony (1862–1916), artist for the Picturesque Atlas of Australasia, whose drawing of Anivitti is at the Mitchell Library, Sydney, and A. J. Fischer, staff artist for the Illustrated Sydney News and Bulletin.

Anivitti’s duties at the Academy included curatorship of a collection of paintings acquired by the Academy with government funds. These paintings became the foundation of the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, whose antecedents were in the Academy....


Armstrong, Thomas  

Christopher Newall

(b Manchester, Oct 19, 1832; d Abbots Langley, Herts, April 22, 1911).

English painter, designer and administrator of art education. When he left school he embarked on a business career in Manchester. In 1853 he travelled to Paris, where he became a pupil in the studio of Ary Scheffer. The semi-bohemian life that Armstrong led in Paris from 1853 to 1856, with his artist friends E. J. Poynter, T. R. Lamont (1826–98) and Whistler, is described in George Du Maurier’s novel Trilby (1894; the character Taffy is modelled on Armstrong). During the later 1850s Armstrong travelled and painted in Europe and in Algiers; after c. 1860 he settled in London.

Armstrong’s early paintings (e.g. A Street Scene in Manchester, 1861; Manchester, C.A.G.), which were exhibited at the Royal Manchester Institution, the British Institution and the Royal Academy, generally treat themes of social deprivation. In the later 1860s Armstrong joined the circle of painters associated with the emergent Aesthetic Movement. He painted bland but harmonious figurative pictures without narrative subject or contemporary references, such as ...


Art education  

Godfrey Rubens

Training in the practices and/or principles involved in making works of art. From the earliest times such practical knowledge has been passed on by demonstration and advice. The different systems of art education are discussed under their respective media surveys, and this entry concentrates on a brief history of the development of art education in Western culture.

There is limited evidence for the nature of training in the ancient world. Crafts appear to have been family affairs, passed down from parents to children. The Babylonian tablet of legal codes laid down by King Hammurabi (reg 1792–1750 bc), which required the craftsman to teach his craft to the young, suggest a form of apprenticeship. Canons of proportion were devised and learnt: the Egyptian models were simpler but less flexible than the later, more subtle Greek ones, such as that of the sculptor Polykleitos. The Greek painter Zeuxis is known to have taken pupils in the ...