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  • Facade of the Academy of Drawing Arts, Florence.zoom in altra finestra
  • Coats of arms on the facade of the Academy of Drawing Arts, Florence.zoom in altra finestra

Accademia delle Arti del Disegno [Academy of Drawing Arts]

Cosimo I de’ Medici founded the Academy and Company of Drawing Arts in 1563 at the suggestion of Giorgio Vasari, with the intention of renewing and promoting the development of the first artists’ guild that took shape from the old "Compagnia di San Luca" (documented as of 1339). Among its first members were personalities like Michelangelo Buonarroti, Bartolomeo Ammannati, Agnolo Bronzino, Francesco da Sangallo. For centuries, the Academy was the most natural and prestigious centre of aggregation for artists active in Florence and, at the same time, favoured the relationship between science and art. It contemplated the teaching of Euclidean geometry and mathematics, and public dissections were held with the intent to train students in drawing. Even a scientist like Galileo Galilei was appointed a member of the Florentine Academy of Drawing Arts in 1613.

Reformed by Peter Leopold of Lorraine, in 1784 the Academy acquired the name of Academy of Fine Arts. At that time, the Grand Duke also decided to endow the Academy with a gallery of painting: housed in rooms of the former San Matteo Hospital, the gallery was instituted with the principal purpose of permitting the students to use the works by the great masters of the past as models. In 1873, the Academy was divided into two sections: the College of Academicians, that is the Academy of Drawing Arts, and the Teaching Institute.

Through the centuries, the Institution has not only had illustrious artists as teachers, but also prestigious men of science: such is the case, for example, of Paolo Mascagni who held the teaching post in Anatomical Drawing, realising splendid, well-formulated plates which joined scientific precision with the aesthetic and artistic demands typical of this Academy.


Texts by Antonella Gozzoli

English translation by Victor Beard

Last update 26/feb/2008