An everlasting truth to art is that it changes over time. As it continues to evolve, I find myself fascinated with the road it took to get there. I am not at all an art historian, nor do I still practice art much anymore. My simple intrigue of art over the ages is what inspired me to not mimic artists by continuing my own art, but rather write about them instead. Just as art evolves over the ages, so does writing. The two combined are a wonderful masterpiece that I like to keep track of here on my blog. So dive in with me as I explore the next era of art through writing about Academic art.
With every era of art, there are key features which make the artwork unquestionably from it’s age. Academism is a unique age, influenced through the rules and high standards of the French Academie de Beaux-Arts, which was an Academy of Art at the time. This debut of art students is what began the education of art, teaching them to follow the guidelines of art rather than create by rebellion from the previous era. The education of art students sprung undertakings of Renaissance art, developing classical theories. Academies strived to change the status of artists, and aimed to free them from the standards and power of guilds. Instead of art being a mere craftsmanship, it would then become an educated development.
Academism has a clear social awareness, not limiting their subjects by status but by mindfully choosing to capture the emotion and visuals of the poor and low status. You will often find bare feet on women to portray idealism of the lower class rather than aristocrats. Many scholars touch on the relation to Rococo art making a comeback in this era. The academic style also brings forth mythic creatures and dramatic scenes from the previous eras of Neoclassicism and Romanticism. Although Rococo, Neoclassicism and Romanticism were once considered “rebellious” in their time, they were now the foundational inspiration to Academism.
Art was beginning to be considered intellectual, separating them from craftsman. The message behind the painting during Academism was considered to be uplifting and portrayed pastoral, light colors. Art students were guided to communicate some form of a positive message. Some examples are friendship, moral objects and Christian values.
Although inspired by the once rebellious artistic styles of neoclassicism and romanticism, Academic art did not stray from the rules. Any artists who veered outside the standards were excluded from exhibitions and art halls. In fact, artists in academies were taught to re-create old masterpieces, essentially copying works of art to absorb the correct style, technique and color.
The began by drawing figures, sculptures and even drawings of life (male nudes). Until they were a year into their art education, they weren’t able to paint. After a year, they were taught to paint with color. The Academies restricted abstract art and technique, and forced a strict method for artists to follow. Although restricted, the artists still thrived through the history and educational path of Academicism.