In February the Blue Hall of the Art Academy Museum will host an exhibition: “The examples to follow and imitate”. The highlights of the exposition are life class drawings from the collection of the Imperial Art Academy (1757 – 1917).
This unique collection of drawings has its origin in the middle of the 18th century, when the Art Academy was founded. From the very beginning, it was established as a set of academic examples for the students to follow. Since 1765, the Art Academy Council has been preserving student’s drawings which were awarded with gold and silver medals. This tradition lasted until 1917.
Later the Art Academy Council decided to collect the academic drawings made by its famous alumni. For example, at the moment the collection of drawings possesses more than 300 academic sketches created by A. P. Losenko, one of the founders of Russia’s academic art school, an Art Academy teacher and later its headmaster. Among the exhibited works there are student presentations made by Losenko and Sokolov during their internships in Italy. The Art Academy drawing collection has also been growing, thanks to gifts. In 1873, one of the best-known Russian collectors and art historians, A. I. Somov, contributed a number of academic sketches by the famous XVIII century artists A. I. Ivanov, V. K. Shebuev, A. E. Egorov and A. G. Varnek, which are also on display. The exhibited study work of the Russian artists O. A. Kiprensky and A. A. Ivanov also formed the Art Academy collection of drawings as gifts. The drawings from nature by Pavel Chistyakov, the most famous Russian art teacher of the 19th century, were gifted to the Art Academy by his daughter. Pavel Chistyakov himself gave to his alma mater, the Art Academy, a preserved study by Carl Brullov. Therefore one can find on display at the exhibition sketches made from nature from the end of 18th century until the beginning of the 20th century.
The exposition demonstrates to us the evolution of the techniques and styles used in academic drawing during the century and a half by showing not only the great master’s works but also the studies of their colleagues. This exhibition is highly recommended, not only for professionals and art students but also for those who are interested in Russian art history and the culture of the 18th century through the beginning of the 20th century, which is an organic part of the Imperial Art Academy’s history.