Academic Gallery, Third floor, National Academy of San Luca

Part of the academic collections are exhibited in the Gallery – located on the third and top floor of Palazzo Carpegna. Other works are located in the academic rooms, in the secretariat offices, in the conference room, located on the main floor, as well as in the Academic Library, in the Sarti Library and in the Historical Archive which are located on the second floor. The rest of the collections are kept in deposits located on the ground floor or along the helical ramp.

In October 2010 the Gallery, renovated according to a museum exhibition project developed by Angela Cipriani, Marisa Dalai Emiliani, Pia Vivarelli (who disappeared in 2008) as Superintendents of the Gallery and the Academic Collections, reopened to the public in almost all of its rooms.

The new layout was designed, in collaboration with the academic architect Francesco Cellini, following the most up-to-date criteria, that is, using the same exhibition order to immediately and effectively return the idea of ​​the Academy itself over the centuries.

The restoration of the works of painting and sculpture, made necessary by the long past period of storage of the works, entrusted to the care of Fabio Porzio, was joined by the now usual research laboratory on restoration methods, always directed by Fabio Porzio, particularly interesting. for the variety of materials and therefore the richness of the relative problems. We also proceeded to reread the archival documents, in order to reconstruct the historical and current consistency of the academic collections.

Landscape Collection
The build-up over time of an artistic endowment, impressive for its quantity and quality, is the result of the Academy’s collecting vocation which occurs in two ways. The first is represented by the so-called “entrance gifts”, which the institution required from each artist upon their admission into the academic congregation. However has also been also the result of donations and bequests by artists, collectors, patrons of the Academy, more frequently from the eighteenth century onwards. One instance is the large bequest from an eccentric figure in early eighteenth century Rome, Fabio Rosa, through whom approximately two hundred paintings—some later dispersed—were accessioned to the academic collections in 1753.

The Archaeologist (1749)
In the Fabio Rosa bequest’s paintings are unified by their excellent quality, and for belonging to a genre of painting—landscape—alien to the academic tradition and yet central in the trends on collecting prompted by the phenomenon of the Grand Tour. Two antithetical examples: two famous “capriccios” by Giovanni Paolo Pannini —The Archaeologist and An Apostle Preaching in which little narrative episodes oddly take place in a monumental setting derived from antiquity.

An Apostle Preaching (1749)
Piacenza-born painter Giovanni Paolo Pannini arrival in Rome in 1711, he was already expert in painting architectures, Pannini dedicated himself to studying figure painting, to complete his training. In 1719 he was admitted to the Academy of Saint Luke, where he was appointed teacher of perspective. From this point on, his career was studded with major public and private commissions and official recognition. He was appointment as prince of the Academy, in 1754.

View of the Port of Ripa Grande (1680 – 1690)
The collection also preserves a no less famous pair of paintings by Gaspar van Wittel, which are examples of strictly topographical accuracy in the rendering of everyday urban life. The View of the Port of Ripa Grande represents the Tiber in the end portion of its course within the city: in the foreground are the populated via Marmorata that runs along the Aventine Hill and the ruins of Rome, including the Temple of Hercules and that of Portunus, next to the harbour on the Tiber. The fulcrum of the composition is the port of Ripa Grande.

View of the Aniene before the Waterfall (1680 – 1690)
In the View of the Aniene before the Waterfall, pendant of View of the Port of Ripa Grande, Tivoli is seen from the left bank near the Piazza Rivarola. With the bridge of San Martino on the background and a group of houses on the right—the area is now occupied by Villa Gregoriana—and the Gate of Sant’Angelo from which the Via Valeria started.

Paesaggio con pastori
Among the Nordic artists lured to Rome by the certainty of an international market, is Belgian painter Jan van Bloemen Franz. The heir of Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain’s classicism, van Bloemen Franz celebrated throughout the first half of the eighteenth century the harmony of the Roman countryside, which thanks to his personal style becomes at the same time the place of history through the epiphany of the ancient monuments, and the place of myth and Arcadia.

Jan Franz Van Bloemen
In 1688 Jan van Bloemen Franz arrived in Rome along with his brother, Pieter. As was customary, he was given a nickname; Orizzonte refers his ability to represent infinite distances. He was admitted in the Academy of Saint Luke in 1742, in spite of a rather stormy relationship with the artist.

Perspective View (Stage design) (1718 – 1730)
Instead this Perspective View (Stage design) of Canaletto entered the Academy through the bequest of painter Domenico Pellegrini (1840). The capriccio, or perhaps an early study for a theatre set, evokes a fantastic Capitol, seen through a loggia with four arches, framed by Corinthian columns and enlivened by golden ornaments and statues. The fulcrum of the composition at the top of the stairs is an equestrian monument that recalls Marcus Aurelius, inserted under a triumphal arch. The work may have been done immediately after Canaletto’s stay in Rome (1718-1720), since it deploys a veritable repertoire of ancient ruins.

Marina di Anzio (1743)
The academic collections were also enriched through by the so-called “entrance gifts”, which the institution required from each artist upon their admission into the academic congregation, such as for John Parker and Claude Joseph Vernet. Vernet was appointed academic of merit in 1743 and he gave to the Academy this Marine at Anzio. It is a typical example of the his production during his Italian sojourn. A period in which his landscapes and seascapes, depicting often little-known places on the coast of Lazio, are rendered with vibrant touches that reveal particular attention to real places.

Landscape with hunter (XVIIIth century)
John Parker, an English landscapist, lived between about 1740 and 1762, he was appointed academic of merit in 1756 and he presented this Landscape with hunter who was considered “worthy of praise” and became part of the accademic collections. This work, where brownish hues predominate, transforms the rich and dense vegetation—seemingly looked at from nature—into a theatrical setting, that opens up to show a stream and a small figure, perhaps a hunter, entering into the forest accompanied by a spotted English setter.

Life Drawing Collection
The Academy has maintained its international importance in the fine arts, thanks to its fundamental role in the teaching of drawing and for a series of annual competitions. In 1593, under the principality of Federico Zuccari, the teaching of drawing was established at the academic headquarters. At mid-eighteenth century pope Benedict XIV established the “Pictures Gallery in Capitol”, today’s Pinacoteca Capitolina, and the academicians served as directors of the gallery.

The Academy directly ran the School of Life Drawing, housed in new premises designed by Ferdinando Fuga and built on the Capitol right underneath the room one of the picture gallery. The young artists, in order to practice on the female nude (it was inconceivable at the time to find at the school naked female models), would go upstairs in the two rooms then housing the picture gallery to copy from the paintings whose subjects justified the presence of nude women.

At the time of the French government the Academy was officially entrusted with the task of training artists and Antonio Canova decided to move the School of Life Drawing. The pictures with female nudes, by then long exhibited in the Capitoline rooms, having lost their precise and acknowledged didactic function, were at once deemed obscene. For this reason, in the aftermath of the election of Pope Leo XIII (1823), they were removed from the roomsand temporally placed in a “reserved cabinet” arranged in a room on the ground floor of the Palazzo dei Conservatori on the Capitol.

In 1836 Fortune by Guido Reni and workshop, and the detached fresco by Guercino were transferred to the Academy of Saint Luke. Eventually, in March 1845, all the works of the “reserved cabinet” were definitively donated to the Academy. The group consisted in twelve paintings: eleven are still in the gallery of the Academy.

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the Fortune (1637)
Fortune by Guido Reni was the first painting transferred to the Academy of Saint Luke. Fortune, played by a woman, holds a golden crown in the right hand, in the other holds a scepter and a palm tree. A cupid in flight tries to hold her for long, loose hair while the perfect Fortuna body, flying over the world. Around 1637 Guido Reni realized two different versions of Fortune, which became very popular and were replicated many times in the workshop of the artist, occasionally with his own direct intervention. Recent restoration work has revealed the presence of a purse hidden behind the crown, confirming that this is indeed the Fortune painted by Giarola and finished by Guido Reni.

Venus and Cupid (1632)
The fresco,Venus and Love, kept in storage at the Capitol, had never really been part of the Capitoline collection. Giovanni Francesco Barbieri called Guercino executed this fresco for Villa Giovannina, not distant from Cento, owned by count Filippo Maria Aldovrandi, and decorated by a few artists with scenes drawn from celebrated poems. The fresco was ripped from the wall in 1786, or thereabouts, and moved to the family’s residence in Bologna, and then was donated to Pope Gregory XVI.

Perseus and Andromeda (XVIIth century)
Among the eleven works of the Capitoline collection there is this Perseus and Andromeda by Cavalier d’Arpino, the replica of an autograph on slate, today at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Giuseppe Cesari called Cavalier d’Arpino came back repeatedly to this famous mythological fable in various painting: Perseus fights against the sea monster to free Andromeda. She then became his spouse. In this version the sudden arrival of Perseus riding Pegasus is a variation on the theme introduced by Ovid’s Metamorphosis and in the paiting an extensive intervention of his collaborators is quite likely. Cavalier d’Arpino was an important member of the Accademia di San Luca so much that he was appointed Prince in the 1600 e and re-elected in 1616 and 1629. Indeed, an unnamed philanthropist—to be identified with Antonio Canova, prince of the Academy of Saint Luke—starting 1812 had granted a generous allowance for the institution of two annual scholarships, respectively for a painter and a sculptor. The large heroic nude betrays the influence the Belvedere Apollo and his direct models are arguably some of Canova’s most celebrated marbles, from Perseus to Palamedes, to Napoleon Bonaparte as Appeasing Mars.

The Rich Collection of Casts
The gallery of plaster casts is a bright gallery on the third floor, located between the main stairway and the Borrominian ramp of Palazzo Carpegna. The room displays specimens of one of the most representative collections in the history of the Academy, namely the series of original plaster casts by Canova, Thorvaldsen, Kessels, Wolff, Tenerani and Zagari, among others, mostly bequests or “entrance gifts” of the artists to the prestigious institution.

Instead, following the splitting of the art school in compliance with the 1873, post-unification reform of the academies of fine arts prompted by ministers Scialoja and Coppino, the rich collection of casts from ancient statuary, especially relevant to the academic teaching based on imitation, was destined to continue its educational mission. What remains of it is today housed at the institute in via Ripetta.

Clemente XIII heads (1784 – 1786)
In the gallery is preserved the Head of Clement XIII by Antonio Canova. It is the monumental plaster model for the funeral monument of Pope Clement XIII (in 1783 Canova received the commission). The head of the pope retains on the surface of the face the original final waxing. The treatment of the face—in contrast with the roughness of the surface of the hair and the cope—helps to make even more powerful the meticulous analysis of the sitter. On January 5, 1800 Antonio Canova was appointed academician of merit and he assume the office of prince of the Roman institution in the 1810.

Socrates rescues Alcibiades at the battle of Po… (1797)
Upon his election as academician Canova give to the Academy, according to the statute, a bas-relief representing Socrates rescues Alcibiades at the battle of Potidaea. The relief in plaster—the model of a later marble version—was cast in 1797.

Portrait of Pasin Canova (1798)
Pasino Canova was a well-known stonecutter and sculptor and grandfather of Antonio Canova. When Antonio was only four years old, his father Pietro died and his mother, Angela Zardo, moved to Crespano. Instead, Antonio continued living in his birthplace, Possagno, with his grandfather Pasino, who gave him the first sculpture lessons.

Ganimede and the eagle (1817)
The Ganymede and the eagle is the entrance gift of artist Bertel Thorvaldsen. He was elected academic of merit in March 1808 and president in 1827-1828, he engaged in the teaching and teaching of sculpture. was donated to the Academy on November 20, 1831. There are two marble versions of this plaster cast preserved in the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen and the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk Virginia.

The three Graces (1842)
The Graces are a subject revived in the production of Thorvaldsen over a lifetime, starting from 1804, he made changes with respect to his own compositions. In the Academy version there is the affected variant of the arrow of love that one of the Graces wise with the tip of your finger. The group was donated by the Thorvaldsen heirs shortly after his death.

Christ (1821)
It was one of two plaster models made by the sculptor (the other is conserved in the Thorvaldsens Museums in Copenhagen) for the marble statue destined for the Vor Frue Kirke in Copenhagen. The colossal figure of Christ was donated to the Academy in 1844 by the artist’s heirs.

Hercules at the crossroads (1852)
Saro Zagari, a sculptor and architect from Messina, was accepted among the academicians of merit in 1868. In 1907 two sketches of the bas-reliefs, Hercules at the Crossroads and Wedding of Hercules and Hebe on Olympus, made by the artist in 1847 for the façade of the theater of Santa Elisabetta (now Vittorio Emanuele) of Messina, were donated to the Academy by Adele Zagari, daughter of sculptor.

Wedding of Hercules and Hebe on Olympus (1852)
The bas-reliefs, which are part of the exterior decoration of the façade of the theatre Vittorio Emanuele, had been judged favourably by the Roman academy in 1865.

National Academy of San Luca, Rome, Italy
The Accademia Nazionale di San Luca is an association of artists from Rome, officially founded in 1593 by Federico Zuccari, who was also its first director (Prince), with the assumption of raising the work of the artists above simple craftsmanship.

The National Academy of Saint Luca has its origin in the institution established between the late 1500s and early 1600s when an ancient confraternity of painters associated with the Università delle Arti della Pittura held meetings at the little church of San Luca all’Esquilino in Rome (the church has since been demolished). In 1577 a papal bull issued by Pope Gregory XIII at the urging of the painter Girolamo Muziano instituted the Accademia delle Arti della Pittura, della Scultura e del Disegno (the “Academy of the Arts of Painting, of Sculpture and of Drawing”), but it would be 1593 before the Academy was symbolically “founded” by Federico Zuccari with the formal approval of the original statutes of the Accademia de i Pittori e Scultori di Roma (the “Academy of the Painters and Sculptors of Rome” – but not architects, who were first welcomed into the ranks of the Academy only in 1634, when Pietro da Cortona was “Prince” of the institution).

In 1934, following the demolition of the Academy’s historical seat next to the church of Santi Luca e Martina – to make way for the new Via dell’Impero running through the Roman Forum – the Academy moved to its current headquarters in Palazzo Carpegna. From its foundation onwards, the Academy’s activities had always included teaching, in the form of conferences, symposia and courses in painting, sculpture and architecture, but in 1874 this aspect of the Academy’s work was delegated to the Reale Istituto di Belle Arti (now known as the Accademia di Belle Arti), while the Academy itself was charged with organising cultural activities intended to enrich and promote the fine arts.

Today such work continues via the publication of books regarding the Academy and its history, the organisation of exhibitions at the Academy’s headquarters, the safeguarding and conservation of its physical patrimony and the loaning of works from the Academy’s collections (drawings, paintings and sculptures) for display in national and international exhibitions. The Academy, also, focuses on young artists and scholars in particular through the distribution of scholarships and prizes.