Accademia di Belle Arti di Ravenna

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Accademia di Belle Arti di Ravenna

Fine Arts Academy of Ravenna
via delle Industrie, 76
48122 Ravenna
tel. +39 – 0544.453125 o 455784
fax. +39 - 0544.451104

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Cultural heritage and history of the institution


The Fine Arts Academy of Ravenna is a legally recognized Academy (in 1974 it obtained the legal recognition with the DPR 23/08/1974). It is supported by the Municipality and by the Province of Ravenna.
It is an Academy with a long history and a rich tradition, in a cultural town like Ravenna. It was founded in 1827 thanks to the want of Ravenna's municipality and its activity started two years later, with a solemn opening on November 26, 1829. Its heritage of art works created the Pinacoteque, which has become the actual Museum of the town, while the Gypsoteque and the Archive witness the dynamic life of the institution. It developed in different moments of its history and today, renewed also thanks to a recent agreement with the Fine Art Academy of Bologna, it offers a formative educational-path completely dedicated to the contemporary mosaic and a specific Biennial of Mosaic. It is a unique Academy in the world.


Cultural Heritage and History of the Institution
The Academy has a long history that developed between the XIX and the XX century till today in connection with the life of the town: One hundred and eighty years of life. (celebrated with the lectio magistralis by Peter Greenaway at Alighieri Theatre on November 24, 2009 and with a volume that takes back its history)
Characterized by the presence of remarking Professors, significant moments of cultural and artistic renewal, its activities are also linked to the Museum's collections of Ravenna (The Pinacoteque was born as the painting-gallery of the Academy), the Gipsoteque, with Canova's important group of plaster sculptures, the Archive.
The first idea of an “Academy” in Ravenna goes back to Town Council on October, 23, 1803, but the project concretely took form in 1827, founding year of the new institution, that was followed by a solemn opening on November 26, 1829. During the first meeting of the the Academic Council, presided by the Count Giovanni Lovatelli, Ignazio Sarti was nominated long life director, Count Alessandro Cappi secretary and Count Carlo Arrigoni deputee for the Pinacoteque connected to the Academy.
Along the centuries the Acts of the Academy were published, sign of the big role played by this institution in Ravenna. There were taught at first the so called “pure” Arts: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Ornatus, Decoration, Engraving, while in 1897 The Academy was officially recognized among the Royal Academies, adding “History of Art” as well as “Perspective and Applied Geometry”. In the first half of the 1900 there are other important news. With the reform of the year 1923, even if it lost the official recognition, mosaics appears among the subjects previewed within the academical studies, together with Painting, History of Art, Figure, Ornatus, Sculpture and Decoration, Theory of Shadows, Perspective and Architecture. The teaching of Mosaic takes back the big tradition of Ravenna's Mosaic, with the opening of the School of Mosaic directed by Giovanni Guerrini, Professor of Decoration, with important Professors Like Paolo Zampiga and Renato Signorini. The mosaic lives its rebirth between the Twentieth and the Thirties, starting as a form of Restoration activity and later becomes part of the contemporary creative dimension. During these years new institutional realities take form near the Academy, like the Gallery of the Academy and the Artistic Gymnasium.
In 1936 the Mayor and the Province of Ravenna created a Consortium to support the Academy and of the Gallery of the Academy with a Collection of art works from the XIV century till nowadays that has become in the meanwhile heritage of the Museum in Ravenna under the name of Loggetta Lombardesca. In 1949 the artistic Gymnasium was created, while the Academic education, which appears as the highest level of artistic education after the gymnasium concentrates on three subjects: Painting, Mosaic, History of Art.
In 1959 under the impulse of some Professors the Art Institute for Mosaic was founded.
In 1970 Municipality and Province reestablished the “Consortium for the Academy” activating new courses, paying particular attention to the Applied Arts; in 1974 it was obtained the official recognition (with ordinance DPR 23/08/1974) and from than on the Academy followed the National norms for its didactical organization.
New subsidiary courses were added to integrate the fundamental subjects, those that in the past decades enriched the academic education of the three Schools of Painting, Sculpture, Decoration. New artistic and professional paths appeared, like Graphics, Photography and recently with Mosaic and Goldsmith Art. These two courses, not contemplated in the National Academies, were granted by the Minister of the Public Education, to the Academy of Ravenna.
These two courses, not contemplated in the National Academies, were granted by the Minister of the Public Education, to the Academy of Ravenna with an ordinance of February 8, 1996, in connection with the artistic vocation of the territory, the uniqueness of Ravenna, capital of mosaic.
At the end of 1998 the Academy was transferred from its previous site at the Loggetta Lombardesca (where The Academy was located since 1971) to the complex of the “Albe Steiner”, not far away from the mausoleum of Teodorico, where the Academy continues to be located.
On December 3, 2001 the experimental project “Mosaic” started with the authorization of The Ministery of University and Education: technique and expressivity articulated on a triennial basis and with a biennial specialization (3 plus 2)
Since then the Academy of Ravenna has progressively characterized its educational offer with the specificity of the mosaic language within the context of the contemporary experimental artistic language, distinguishing itself on a national and international level.
The agreement in collaboration with the Fine Art Academy of Bologna, 
starting from the academic year 2008-2009 in order to qualify Ravenna within the national System of High artistic education, with a personal identity given by the Mosaic. The excellence of this experience and of this education is witnessed by the works and the collaborations realized in the last decades with artists like Sandro Chia, Enzo Cucchi, Dario Fo and others. Another important event is RavennaMosaic, first International Festival dedicated to the mosaic, realized in Ravenna from October 10, to November 24, 2009, enhanced with its numerous events the creativity of the young artists of the academy: from the exhibition Double Game, The New Mosaic of the Fine Arts Academy of Ravenna in S. Maria delle Croci, to the section of numerous of its students for the show Mosaics from the World curated by the AIMC, without forgetting the musive Murales La poderosa, dedicated to Che Guevara for the city of Sancti Spiritus in Cuba and the precious mosaic created with Eugenio Carmi by the young artists of the Academy to enrich the big collection of the artistic mosaics of the MAR.

The international dimention is a particular point of excellence of Ravenna's Academy. Thanks to the ERASMUS project and to the participation to workshops abroad. In 2009 a selected group of students took part to a Summer School in Damasco. Many are the students and the researcher coming from abroad, attracted from the unicity of the school.

The Gipsotheque
The creation of the Gypsotheque is connected with the birth of the Academy itself, as well as with a first group of plaster sculptures, copies from important masterpieces of the ancient statuary tradition produced from the most important roman manufacture. It was didactically necessary to acquire it for the classical neoclassical artistic categories that accompained its foundation in 1827, in particular for Director Ignazio Sarti's intents.
Numerous donations enriched the gypsotheque of the academy since the very beginning, with precious pieces, composing an initial nucleus of about 240 works, to which followed during the time other acquisitions in order to renew the collection of models and to substitute the pieces ruined by the use. From Cardinal Galeffi was given the Laocoonte's group, from Leopoldo II of Tuscany the Venere Medicea and the Apollino. The sculptor Antonio d'Este sent a a calc of Marco Aurelio horse's head, the danish artist Thordwaldsen gave as a present some of his bas-relieves and two versions of the Mercurius. From Cardinal Rivarola and from Giovan Battista Sartori, Antonio Canova's brother, came important pieces of the neoclassical artist, like Endimion (the original in marble was sculpted by Canova in 1822, for the Duke of Devonshire, Chatsworth), the two boxers Creugante and Damosseno, Falier's Stelae and Volpato's Stelae. This last one depicting the friendship sitting in front of Giovanni Volpato's image is an original model, not a copy, of the marble stelae realized by Canova in 1806 for his friend and engraver. In 1855 Cardinal Antonelli donated the Sofocle from Terracina, while at the half of the century the sculptor Enrico Pazzi left a nucleus of about fifty plasters.
At the beginning of the 900 the group The love of the Angels, by Giulio Bergonzoli (not a copy, but a calc of a temporary work useful for the marble transfer) and the Umanity against the evil by Gaetano Celli, while Corrado Ricci in the second decades made some donations, among them Bistolfi's sculpted figure for Segantini's tomb.


Mosaic cartoons
The collection of mosaic cartoons of the Fine Arts Academy of Ravenna witnesses the birth of Ravenna School of Mosaic Restoration, that took place in the first decades of Last Century, particularly during the Twenties and the Thirties, with the beginning of the School of Mosaic inside the Academy itself. (1924)
This school and its further development melted within the creative activity knowledge ot the tradition and mosaic practice, leading to a ribirth of the mosaic language with new experiences connected with the contemporary avantgarde.
This school includes important representatives of the history of mosaic in Ravenna like Alessandro Azzaroni, Giuseppe Zampiga, Renato Signorini, authors to whom refer the Academy's most famous cartoons (these cartoons are graphic reliefs realized in connection with the mosaic's restoration practice of the monuments in Ravenna. They were used both as a form of documentation and of restoration. They were made using a tissue paper put directly on the mosaic in order to trace an outline of each tesserae. The layout was so traced on the back making possible an extremely faithful copy of the mosaic).

The archive
In the Academy's archive (at present half of it was lodged inside the City Art Museum and inside the Building of the Academy of Fine Arts) owns documents, letters, drawings, and many witnesses collected during the long life of the Institution, starting from its founding year in 1827.
Thanks to the Institute of Cultural Heritage of the Region Emilia Romagna an inventory is being made. At the end of the inventory this archive will be put inside the Historical Archive, Classense Library, in order to make possible its public consultation. Under request it is possible to consult the oldest nucleous by MAR, the Art Museum of the town.