Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze in Florence

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The Accademia di Belle Arti ("Academy of Fine Arts") is an art academy in Florence, Italy and it is now the operative branch of the still existing Accademia delle Arti del Disegno ("Academy of the Arts of Drawing") that was the first academy of drawing in Europe.


The Accademia delle Arti del Disegno (initially named Accademia e Compagnia delle Arti del Disegno – Arts of Drawing Academy and Company – as it was divided into two different operative branches) was founded in 1563 by Cosimo I de' Medici under the influence of Giorgio Vasari. At first the Academy met in the cloisters of the Church of the Santissima Annunziata.

While the Company was a kind of corporation which every working artist in Tuscan should join, the Academy was constituted only by the most eminent artistic personalities of Cosimo’s court, and had the task of supervising the whole artistic production of the medicean state.

The extraordinary contribution of academics including Michelangelo Buonarroti, Francesco da Sangallo, Agnolo Bronzino, Benvenuto Cellini, Giorgio Vasari, Bartolomeo Ammannati, Giambologna, increased the prestige of this institution.

It was taken for granted at the outset that all the members of the Accademia were male; when the Accademia welcomed Artemisia Gentileschi to membership, it was a signal honor to a woman.

Pietro Leopoldo, Grand Duke of Tuscany, decreed in 1784 that all the schools of drawing in Florence be combined under one roof, the new founded Accademia di Belle Arti ("Academy of Fine Arts") while the Academics College of the prestigious medicean institution changed its name to Accademia delle Arti del Disegno conserving the task of artistic formation and supervision of artistic production of the Granducato di Toscana.

The Accademia di Belle Arti, and the adjoining Gallery still occupy the premises that were assigned in Via Ricasoli, a former convent and hospice while the headquarters of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno nowadays is . The Grand Duke also decided to include among the arts protected in this way, a conservatory of music (the Cherubini Conservatory) and, more extraordinary, a school of art restoration (the Opificio delle Pietre Dure).

The Accademia Gallery

The Gallery of the Accademia di Belle Arti has housed the original David by Michelangelo since 1873. The sculpture was allegedly brought to the Accademia for reasons of conservation, although other factors were involved in its move from its previous outdoor location on Piazza della Signoria. The original intention was to create a 'Michelangelo museum', with original sculptures and drawings, to celebrate the fourth centenary of the artist's birth. Today the gallery's small collection of Michelangelo's work includes his four unfinished Prisoners, intended for the tomb of Pope Julius II, and a statue of Saint Matthew, also unfinished. In 1939 these were joined by a Pietà discovered in the Barberini chapel in Palestrina, though experts now consider its attribution to Michelangelo to be dubious.

Among the notable Renaissance works on display are an outstanding collection of 15th and 16th century Florentine paintings by Paolo Uccello, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Sandro Botticelli and Andrea del Sarto and, from the High Renaissance, Giambologna's original plaster for the Rape of the Sabine Women. As well as a number of Florentine Gothic paintings, the gallery houses the idiosyncratic collection of Russian icons assembled by the Grand Dukes of the House of Lorraine, of which Leopoldo was one.

See also

  • Accademia delle Arti del Disegno

External links