Academic art

Style of painting and sculpture / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Academic art, or academicism or academism, is a style of painting and sculpture produced under the influence of European academies of art, usually used of work produced in the 19th century, after the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815. In this period the standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts were very influential, combining elements of Neoclassicism and Romanticism, with Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres a key figure in the formation of the style in painting. Later painters who tried to continue the synthesis included William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Thomas Couture, and Hans Makart among many others. In this context it is often called "academism", "academicism", "art pompier" (pejoratively), and "eclecticism", and sometimes linked with "historicism" and "syncretism." Academic art is closely related to Beaux-Arts architecture, which developed in the same place and holds to a similar classicizing ideal.

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Academic art
The Birth of Venus by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1879); Phaedra by Alexandre Cabanel (1880); The Roses of Heliogabalus by Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1888)

Although production continued into the 20th century, the style had become vacuous, and was strongly rejected by the artists of set of new art movements, of which Impressionism was one of the first. By World War I it had fallen from favour almost completely with critics and buyers, returning somewhat to favour at the end of the 20th century.

Although smaller works such as portraits, landscapes and still-lifes were often produced (and often sold more easily), the movement and the contemporary public and critics most valued large history paintings showing moments from narratives that were very often taken from old or exotic areas of history, though less often the traditional religious narratives. Orientalist art was a major branch, with many specialist painters, as had scenes from classical antiquity and the Middle Ages.

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