In this series of articles, I will give you, dear friends and readers, a simplified idea of the main styles and movements of painting.

Academic art


A session of the jury of painting (1885)

Paint Author: Henri Gervex (10 September 1852 – 6 June 1929). Source:

Academic art, is a style of painting and sculpture produced under the influence of European academies of art. Specifically, academic art is the art and artists influenced by the standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts, which practiced under the movements of Neoclassicism and Romanticism, and the art that followed these two movements in the attempt to synthesize both of their styles, and which is best reflected by the paintings of William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Thomas Couture, and Hans Makart. In this context it is often called “academism”, “academicism”, “L’art pompier”, and “eclecticism”, and sometimes linked with “historicism” and “syncretism”.

The Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture was created in January 20, 1648, by Louis XIV in order to guarantee painters and sculptors the status of artist who was then challenged. The painter Charles Le Brun (born February 24, 1619 in Paris, where he died on February 12, 1690), takes the direction. The Academies then advocated a radically new method of teaching the Fine Arts. The latter erects the works of Greco-Roman antiquity as a model and rely essentially on a concept whose key words are simplicity, grandeur, harmony and purity.


Charles Le Brun (24 February 1619 – 12 February 1690)

Paint Author: Nicolas de Largillière (1656- 1746). Source:

The teaching of the academy rests on certain founding principles:

  1. Assert the primacy of drawing over color;
  2. To deepen the study of nude, anatomy;
  3. To favor work in the workshop in relation to outdoor work, on the subject;
  4. Perform “completed” works;
  5. To imitate the ancients, to imitate nature.

Little by little, these principles form the basis of the “academic” artistic movement.
With the control of education, the academics controlled the style dominating the artistic life in Europe of the 18th and 19th centuries.


Jeanne d’Arc, victorious of the English, returns to Orleans and is acclaimed by the population (1887)

Paint Author: Jean-Jacques Scherrer (29 September 1855 – 16 May 1916). Source:

Among the artists representative of this movement are the painters:
French: Alexandre Cabanel, Ernest Meissonier, William Bouguereau, Jean-Léon Gérôme.
Germans: Anselm Feuerbach, Franz von Lenbach, Otto Theodore Gustav Lingner.
Austrians: Hans Makart, Hans Zatzka
Belgians: Théophile Lybaert, Herman Richir
Spaniards: Hermann David Salomon Corrodi, Francesco Hayez
English: Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Frederic Leighton
Russians: Karl Brioullov, Alexander Ivanov
Canadians: Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, Paul Kane.


Cleopatra testing poisons on condemned prisoners

Paint author: Alexandre Cabanel  (28 September 1823 – 23 January 1889). Source:


On medee and her children

Paint author: Anselm Feuerbach (12 September 1829 – 4 January 1880). Source:

Source of information (little changed):

11 réflexions sur “PAINT MOVEMENTS: Academic art

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