Accademia di San Luca

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Coat of arms of the Accademia di San Luca in Rome
The Evangelist Lucas with the image of the Virgin Mary; Painting by Guercino

The Accademia di San Luca , today Accademia Nazionale di San Luca , is an association of artists founded in Rome in 1577, which was led by Pope Gregory XIII. initiated and founded in 1593 by the successful painter Federico Zuccari together with Cardinal Federico Borromeo . Zuccari was also its first president and in this function developed the first approaches to reforming art teaching. One of the founding members was Girolamo Muziano . The academy is named after the evangelist Luke , who, according to legend, created a painting of the Virgin Mary and is therefore considered the patron saint of painters.


The first academy to train artists in Italy was the Accademia del Disegno , which was founded in Florence in 1563 by Grand Duke Cosimo I de 'Medici at the instigation of the painter and art historian Giorgio Vasari . In contrast to the guilds , the Accademia del Disegno only accepted independent artists who were already recognized. After Vasari's academy began to dissolve, Zuccari took up his ideas and re-established a comparable educational program in the Accademia di San Luca . He later laid out the art theoretical basis in the publication "Idea de 'pittori scultori ed architetti", published in 1607.

With the emphasis on teaching and public exhibitions, the Accademia di San Luca became a model for modern academies. One of the regulations adopted by many newer institutions was the sponsorship of the colleges by members of the academy, including later publication. The dissemination of these discourses became a means of promoting the institutes and the public acceptance of certain aesthetic theories. In 1635 the Accademia di San Luca was finally established with the support of the powerful Pope Urban VIII . Its members included most of the great Italian and many foreign artists.

The academy's secondary goals were to increase its influence and the reputation of its members, as well as to isolate itself from outside influence. It is worth mentioning in this context the dispute between Andrea Sacchi and the academician Pietro da Cortona , whose school the former was not very fond of. Rather, he was of the opinion that historical painting had to have few figures in order to be able to preserve the simplicity and clarity of classical art. Cortona's school, on the other hand, consists of "merely fast decorative painting," as Jacob Burckhardt wrote in his Cicerone in 1855 . Cortona vehemently contradicted this accusation and underlined his conviction that paintings of high complexity and a multitude of details are superior.

The Accademia di San Luca became the "Royal Academy" in 1872 and has been called the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca since 1948 . Your current domicile is in the Piazza dell'Accademia di San Luca in the Palazzo Carpegna from the 16th century. The associated gallery " Galleria dell'Accademia di San Luca " has a unique collection of paintings and sculptures, including around 500 portraits, but also an excellent collection of drawings.

Presidents of the Academy (selection)

Federico Zuccari's successors as President of the Accademia di San Luca included, among many others:


  • Melchiorre Missirini: Memorie per servire alla storia della Romana Accademia di S. Luca fino alla morte di Antonio Canova, Rome 1823.
  • Carlo Pietrangeli (Ed.): L'Accademia Nazionale di San Luca, Rome 1974.

An extensive bibliography can be found at:

Individual evidence

  1. Meyers Kleines Konversationslexikon . Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna, 7th edition, 1908–1910, Volume 6, p. 950.
  2. Meyer's Encyclopedic Lexicon. Bibliographisches Institut, Lexikonverlag, Mannheim / Vienna / Zurich 1975, Volume 25, p. 776.
  3. ^ The History of the Accademia di San Luca, c. 1590-1635: Documents from the Archivio di Stato di Roma: ASR, TNC, uff. 15, 1623, pt. I, vol. 95, fols. 321r – v, 326r ( Memento from May 22, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (accessed on May 28, 2015)

Web links

Coordinates: 41 ° 54 ′ 6 ″  N , 12 ° 29 ′ 1 ″  E