Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti di Torino

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Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti di Torino

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A bit of history

Although the name “Albertina” harks back to Carlo Alberto di Savoia, to whom we owe the “re-foundation” of the Accademia in 1833,  its origins go much farther back; in fact the Turin academy can be considered one of the oldest in Italy.

Already in the first half of the 17th century Turin boasted a “University of Painters, Sculptors and Architects”, which in 1652 became the Compagnia di San Luca.  The name “Accademia” was adopted in 1678, when Maria Giovanna di Savoia-Nemours, widow of Carlo Emanuele II, founded the Accademia dei Pittori, Scultori e Architetti (Academy of Painters, Sculptors and Architects), drawing inspiration from the Académie Royale of Paris.

Following other reforms under Vittorio Amedeo III (1778) and then during Napoleonic domination,  around 1833 the institution was completely “re-founded” under the auspices of Carlo Alberto.  The “Regia Accademia Albertina” was assigned a new seat in the building which it still occupies today, and was endowed with an important picture gallery (Pinacoteca) bringing together the collections of  Monsignor Mossi di Morano and the valuable cartoons by Gaudenzio Ferrari already belonging to the Sabauda family.

Between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, the Accademia was part of the passage from realism to the new art forms; towards eclecticism, the Liberty style, and a renewal of themes in the work by landscape and genre painters Antonio Fontanesi, Giacomo Grosso, and Cesare Ferro, along with sculptors Vincenzo Vela, Odoardo Tabacchi and Edoardo Rubino.

The early 1940s marked a further turning-point, with the influence of several important representatives of  Torinese figurative arts who were abreast of avant-garde trends in Middle Europe and France: Casorati, Paulucci and later Menzio for painting, Cherchi for sculpture, Calandri for engraving, and Kaneclin for scenography set design, along with skillful assistants such as Galvano, Scroppo, and Davico, who marked the development of art in the immediate postwar period.

In recent years the Accademia Albertina has undergone further changes, promoting a variety of didactic and cultural initiatives.  The Pinacoteca was reorganised and reopened to the public, and the school’s main building is being restored and rationalised; other initiatives include an intense program of exhibitions, conferences, seminars and other events, the introduction of computer technology throughout the academy, and creation of the new experimental course in Conservation and Restoration starting in the 1997-98 academic year. 

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