French Academies of Art• ‘louis,-God’s lieutenant-governor of the world, -before whom courtiers used to fall on their knees, and shade their eyes, as if the light of his countenance, like the sun , which shone supreme in heaven , the type of him , was too dazzling to bear. The sun king, and it is hardly surprising to find the most authoritarian academy originate at his court . The art education required to produce the imperial grandeur Louis Quatorze desired could only be obtain in Rome . Nicolas Poussin , a student of the academy of Domenichino, had already established the french classical tradition with his statuesque figures arranged parallel to the picture plane , and had returned to Rome .Charles Le Brun, who had accompanied Poussin , was patronized by Fouquet and Cardinal Mazarin on his return to France , and when the monarch established the Academie Royale de Peinture et de sculpture in 1648 , Le Burn was selected to direct its activities .
• Et After the fall of Fouquet in 1661 , Colbert , the king’s most powerful minister , took a deep interest in making the academy an efficient branch of the civil service. Colbert was determined through Le Burn to create a well ordered style of french art, which would copare with the classical style of french literature that the Academie Francaise was formulating by approved forms of grammer, poetry , rhetoric.• In 1666 Colbert set up the Academie de France at Rome .
• The academy in France with its protector, four vice-protectors, a director , four rectors , twelve professors , and six councillors was modelled upon the Accademia di San Luca in Rome , but it was essentially a national institution , having none of the private character of the later Royal Academy in London . A royal grant was obtained in 1655 ,
Ecole des Beaux-Arts• School of arts founded in 1648 by Cardinal Mazarin developed studies in architecture, drawing, painting, sculpture, engraving, modeling, and gem cutting. The school was brought under control of the government by Louis XIV originally to guarantee a pool of artists available to decorate the palaces and paint the Royalty but was made independent by Napoléon III in 1863.• The Ecole keyed on classical arts – Greek and Roman architecture and studying and imitating the Great Masters. Emphasis was placed on drawing before any of the students were allowed to advance to painting and each had to go through a rigorous progression of advancement. They first drew from engravings, also called drawing “from the flat”. Only when they mastered that, could they begin drawing from plaster casts or what was called drawing “from the round” or the “antique”; and then, and only then, were they allowed to progress and draw “from the live” (nude models).
• When Sargent arrived in Paris in 1874, the art world was made up of three very separate bodies which coexisted symbiotically in a triangle with a fourth filling the center. At the top of this triangle was the dignified Ecole, steeped in tradition and hopelessly stiff, designed to produce classical painters in an emerging world that was excited by new artists pushing at the fringes (Manet and others). Still, the Ecole was the apex of recognized achievement, with established levels of exams deemed so difficult that it was considered the best in the world. To be accepted by the Ecole was to be considered the best; and although a revolution in art was taking place – it wouldn’t hit the mainstream until much later. Every year the Ecole held a contest for the Grand Prix de Rome. The winner would get a full-ride scholarship to study in Rome.• The second point in this triangle was the small independent ateliers where students learned directly under the tutelage of an established “Master” who were not part of the Ecole. Students not in the Ecole trained in these ateliers with the hopes of passing the entrance exam, as well as students already in the Ecole wanting to get recognized by their association with a known "practicing Master".
• The Masters ran their ateliers as a status symbol of their greatness. The success their students had at the Ecole and the Salon only reflected back on them as to how great they truly were. In turn, their students success and status only brought more commissions. Success bred success. The greater the Master, the more talented students wanted to associate and align themselves to a proven track record -- both at the Ecole and the Salon. The competition between the independent ateliers meant the Ecole could raise the bar even higher guarantying they would get only the best of the best.• The third point in the triangle was the annual Paris Salon, the show everyone wanted to succeed at, and from which the public often commissioned their favorite artists. It was the place to be seen, get known, and paintings shown at the Salon often posted not only the artist who did the work, but what atelier they came from and whom they studied under. It was the Paris Salon that was the culmination of a full years worth of work, both at the Ecole and the ateliers. Not every painting was accepted. You had to submit to a jury to get the paintings shown. Over the summer break, the Masters, teachers, and students were almost all expected to leave the city, travel and paint in plein air.
• In the middle of these three bodies was the lively Parisian life of the cafés which all came together to discuss art. They literally lived, breathed, and drank art -- twenty-four seven. The cafés were but informal extensions of the ateliers and the Ecole, and the Masters would hold court at a table of their followers to argue and discuss theories and technique -- and when the Salon was going -- critique art. It would be the cafés that the vanguard of art flourished and from which the Impressionists came.• Wholly aside from the discipline of painting, was the discipline of Architecture and was one of the most important studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and would influence a whole school of thought. From America came some of the best students to study and it would the Beaux-Arts that buildings such as the Boston Public Library, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Grand Central Station, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and many of the Great public buildings in America of the late 1800s through the 1930s were built.• Today, the Ecole still exists although the Architectural school was split off after the student riots of 1968.
Evolution of Art Education in london• The first British academy of art appears to have been the Academy of painting established in 1711 by Sir Godfrey Kneller in Queen Street London .Sir James Thornhill Succeeded to the governorship of the academy in 1716, one of his students, William Hogarth, organized an academy in St Martin’s Lane ,a completely democratic institution which provided life models for the use of its members. 10 dec 1768 the instrument of foundation was signed by monarch , establishing the ‘Royal Academy of Arts in London’.
• The instrument laid down that :the said society shall consist of 40 members only , who shall be called Academicians of the Royal Academy they shall all of them artists by profession at the time of their admission.• The school of design may be under the direction of the ablest Artist there shall be elected annually from amongst the Academicians nine persons.• There were also to be elected professors of anatomy , architecture etc.