Imperial Academy of Arts
The Russian Academy of Arts, informally known as the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, was opened by Count Ivan Shuvalov under the name Academy of the Three Noblest Arts in 1757.

In Imperial Russia
The academy had been located in Shuvalov's palace on Sadovaya Street until 1764, when Catherine the Great renamed it the Imperial Academy of Arts and commissioned its first rector, Alexander Kokorinov, to design a new building for the academy. It took 25 years to construct the Neoclassical edifice. Konstantin Thon was responsible for the sumptuous decoration of the interiors. He also designed a quayside in front of the edifice and adorned it with two 3000-year-old sphinxes, which had to be brought from Egypt. Ivan Betskoy reorganized the academy into a de-facto government department which supervised matters concerning art throughout the country, distributing orders and awarding ranks to artists. The academy vigorously promoted the principles of Neoclassicism by sending the most notable Russian painters abroad, in order to learn the ancient and Renaissance styles of Italy and France. It also had its own sizable collection of choice artworks intended for study and copying. In the mid-19th-century the Academism of training staff, much influenced by the doctrines of Dominique Ingres, was challenged by a younger generation of Russian artists who asserted their freedom to paint in a Realistic style. The adherents of this movement became known as peredvizhniki and, led by Ivan Kramskoi, publicly broke with the Academy and started its own exhibitions which traveled from town to town across Russia. Ilya Repin, Mikhail Vrubel and some other painters, however, still regarded the academy's training as indispensable for development of basic professional skills.

In the Soviet Union
After the Russian Revolution of 1917 the academy passed through a series of transformations. It was formally abolished in 1918 and the Petrograd Free Art Educational Studios (Pegoskhuma) created in its place; this was renamed the Petrograd Svomas (Free Art Studios) in 1919, the Petrograd State Art-Educational Studios of the Reconstructed Academy of Arts in 1921, Vkhutein in 1928, the Institute of Proletarian Fine Arts in 1930, the Russian Academy of Arts in 1933, and the Academy of Arts of the USSR in 1947, reverting to the Russian Academy of Arts in 1991. The old academy's art collection, which included major works by Poussin, David and Ingres, was removed to the Hermitage Museum across the river. Well-known graduates of Ilya Repin Leningrad Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1930-1950s: Yuri Neprintsev, Nikolai Timkov, Alexander Laktionov, Piotr Vasiliev, Piotr Belousov, Mikhail Kozell, Gleb Verner ( Isaak Brodsky workshop ), Sergei Osipov, Gleb Savinov, Elena Skuin, Olga Bogaevskaya, Lev Orekhov, Victor Teterin, Ivan Godlevsky, Evgenia Antipova, Evgenia Baykova ( Alexander Osmerkin workshop ), Alexey Eriomin, Nikolai Baskakov, Valery Vatenin, Nina Veselova, Maya Kopitseva, Oleg Lomakin,Valentina Monakhova, Nikolai Mukho, Anatoli Nenartovich, Mikhail Natarevich, Semion Rotnitsky, Mikhail Trufanov, Yuri Tulin ( Boris Ioganson workshop ), Boris Korneev, Anatoli Vasiliev, Nikolai Pozdneev, Rostislav Vovkushevsky, Irina Getmanskaya, Elena Kostenko, Alexander Koroviakov, Victor Otiev, Alexander Sokolov ( Victor Oreshnikov workshop ), Boris Lavrenko, Yuri Belov, Mikhail Kaneev, Nikolai Galakhov, Piotr Litvinsky ( Rudolf Frentz workshop ). After the advancement of 20th century modernism, European and American art schools embraced thinkers who rebelled against nineteenth century academic and historicist traditions, believing the "traditional" forms of art, architecture, literature, religious faith, social organization and daily life were becoming outdated. While art education in the West was changing, traditional academic teachings were nourished in the Soviet academy. As a school, Soviet Socialist Realism surpassed the best naturalist and realist genre painting in the West during the third quarter of the twentieth century! It was a ' renaissance of realism' behind the Iron Curtain. ”“ Vern Grosvenor Swanson. During the years of the Soviet era, academies were free (financed by the government), but incredibly competitive. Many students would continuously apply for sometimes six, seven years in a row to be accepted to the Academy, without success. With twenty available places and thousands of applicants, the competition was brutal.

Current situation
The Russian Academy of Arts has been headquartered in Moscow since 1947. Its current president is Zurab Tsereteli and its vice-president is Tair Salakhov. The historic building on the Neva River in St. Petersburg now accommodates the Ilya Repin St. Petersburg State Academic Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, but is still informally known as the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, or Repin Institute of Arts.

Bibliography
  • Sergei V. Ivanov.Unknowen Socialist Realism. The Leningrad School. - Saint Petersburg: NP-Print Edition, 2007. - p. 447. ISBN 5901724216, ISBN 9785901724217.


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