Academy of Creativity- The Russian Academy of Arts

The Russian Academy of Arts, also known as the Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts, was a Saint Petersburg art academy created in 1757 by Ivan Shuvalov, the founder of the Imperial Moscow University, under the name Academy of Three Noblest Arts. Elizabeth of Russia renamed it the Imperial Academy of Arts and commissioned a new structure, finished 25 years later beside the Neva River in 1789. The institution encouraged neoclassical style and method, and it sent bright students to European cities to deepen their education. Academy training was practically needed for artists to have a successful career. The academy also offers exclusive Imperial Academy of Arts Drawing and painting program.

Throughout Imperial Russia

Initially, the Academy was housed at the Shuvalov Mansion on Sadovaya Street. Catherine the Great renamed it the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1764 and commissioned Alexander Kokorinov, the Academy’s first rector, to construct a new tower. The Neoclassical structure, which opened in 1789, took 25 years to complete. Konstantin Thon was responsible for the sumptuous decoration of the interiors. He also designed a quayside in front of the building, with stairs down to the Neva River, and adorned it with two 3000-year-old sphinxes, which were transported from Egypt.

The Academy of Arts’ Higher Art School

In 1893, the Imperial Academy of Arts was split into two parts: the Academy of Arts itself, which was in charge of all creative activities in the Russian Empire, and the Higher Art School of the Academy of Arts, which was exclusively concerned with academic matters. The Academy’s vice-president, Count Ivan Ivanovich Tolstoy, spearheaded the reform.

The Imperial Academy of Arts’ Big Gold Medal

The Big Gold Medal, which granted the right to a foreign pensioner (from three to six years), was awarded in a competition in which the most talented graduates of the Academy were allowed to complete their studies, with the small gold medal of the Academy «For Success in Drawing» awarded at the start of the competition. Graduates who obtained a big gold medal stayed at the Academy of Arts for an additional year, receiving a specialized workshop, work equipment, and a hefty monetary stipend. Those accepted into the competition were required to carry out the “program,” which consisted of drawing a picture by the program (creative tasks). The challenge, which was usually based on a historical topic, was designed so that the participant demonstrated all of the professional abilities and information that he had acquired during his studies.

In the former Soviet Union

Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, the Imperial Academy underwent several modifications. It was formally abolished in 1918 and replaced by the Petrograd Free Art Educational Studios (Pegoskhuma), which was renamed the Petrograd Svomas (Free Art Studios) in 1919, the Petrograd State Art-Educational Studios of Reconstructed Academy of Arts in 1921, Vkhutein in 1928, Institute of Proletarian Fine Arts in 1930, the Russian Academy of Arts in 1933, and Academy of Arts of the USSR in 1947. Following the Academy’s relocation to Moscow that year, the building in Leningrad has renamed Ilya Repin Leningrad Institute for Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture.