Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Accademia dell'Arte del Disegno ("Academy of the Art of Drawing") is an art academy in Florence, Italy. It was the first academy of drawing in Europe.


It was founded in 1561 with high patronage of the Medici, specifically that of Cosimo I, by Giorgio Vasari, Agnolo Bronzino and Bartolommeo Ammannati, three of the central artists of Mannerism. At first the academy met in the cloisters of the Church of the Santissima Annunziata.

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, under the direction of the Accademia, now renamed Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze ("Academy of Fine Arts, Florence") and that it was to contain a gallery of paintings by old masters to help the studies of the young artists. The Accademia, and the adjoining Gallery still occupy the premises that were assigned in via Ricasoli, a former convent and hospice. 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.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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