by Veronica BOG DAN, deputy science director, Science & Research Museum, Russian Academy of Arts, St. Petersburg, Russia
The birth of H.M. Academy of Arts (l'Académie des Beaux-Arts) harks back to the Romanov dynasty. The very idea was conceived by Emperor Peter the Great (1672-1725), also of the Romanov house, long before its foundation date in 1757. L'Académie des Beaux-Arts is a St. Petersburg phenomenon through and through: St. Petersburg, a young Russian capital founded at the turn of the 18th century and growing apace, needed artists, architects and skilled masters.
J. B. Vallin Delamotte. Façade of the Académie des Beaux-Arts edifice in St. Petersburg. 1760s. Papier, Indian ink, water colors. © Science & Research Museum. Russian Academy of Arts.
This happened during the reign of Yelizaveta (Elizabeth), Peter's daughter. Count Shuvalov, a favorite of hers and one of the makers of the Dictionary of the Russian Language, stood behind the opening of an Academy of "Three Most Illustrious Arts" in St. Petersburg. Ivan Shuvalov invited the best European artists as instructors, he established an art gallery and a library for l'Académie; he drew up its statutes and regulations, and approved an election procedure of honorary membership. The first grand meeting of l'Académie members took place on the second of December of 1762, that is already under Catherine II who usurped the Russian throne earlier that year. It was Count Shuvalov who was the originator of l'Académie designed to handle all art-related matters.
A museum was established then and there, and in time it became a great artistic repository both in Russia and elsewhere abroad. Its collections include a great many objects d'art--drawings, prints, paintings of Russian and West European masters as well as copies of classic and European sculptures used as models at art lessons. Visiting this museum, we can admire the works of maîtres and their ... Читать далее