Academic Fine Art

Bouguereau, Dawson, Gérôme & Others

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Academic Art: The Height of Classical Beauty

Academic art, also known as academicism or academism, is a style of art that adheres to the principles and standards of the academies of art, especially the French Académie des Beaux-Arts. Founded in 1648, the Académie was the most influential institution in shaping the course of European art for over two centuries. This style of painting promoted a classical ideal of beauty, harmony and proportion, based on the study of art history, ancient Greek and Roman art and the works of the Italian Renaissance masters.

The Masters of Academic Art

The Académie des Beaux-Arts had a rigorous academic training system for its young artists, students and members. It taught a hierarchy of genres, with history painting at the top, followed by portrait, genre, landscape and still life.
It also held annual or biennial exhibitions, known as salons, where academic artists could showcase their works and compete for prizes and recognition. Some of the most celebrated masters of academic art emerged from this system, such as Jacques-Louis David, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Jean-Léon Gérôme, William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Alexandre Cabanel and Gustave Moreau.

The Legacy of Academic Art

Academic art reached its peak of popularity and prestige in the 19th century, but it also faced challenges and criticism from various artistic movements that sought to break away from its rules and conventions, such as Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism and Modernism. However, academic art did not disappear with the advent of these new styles— It represents a remarkable achievement in the history of art and a testament to the enduring value of classical beauty.

Why Buy Academic Art and Antiques from M.S. Rau?

At M.S. Rau, we are proud to offer a curated selection of museum-quality academic art pieces that span various genres, periods and styles. Whether you are looking for a stunning history painting by Gérôme, a charming genre scene by Bouguereau, a striking portrait by Cabanel, or a mystical masterpiece by Moreau, you will find it among our exceptional collection of academic art. Browse our online catalog or visit our gallery in New Orleans to discover these treasures for yourself. You will be amazed by the quality and diversity of our offerings, and you will be delighted by our expertise and service. Contact us today to acquire a piece of academic art that will enrich your life and collection.