Virtual: 19th-Century European Academic Paintings

Throughout Europe, the official manner for artists to learn their craft, and ultimately to exhibit those abilities, was through the Royal Academy. Most major cities had such an academy—those in Paris and London had the greatest influence. Far more than places of learning and exhibition, these institutions were tastemakers; their recommendations, whether through what was exhibited, which artists were hired as faculty, or what was being taught, defined what was regarded as aesthetically and artistically successful, and also determined who received commissions. Great attention was placed on the models provided by classical art, and history painting was regarded as the highest and most noble genre.

This gallery contains examples of academic art from across Europe—including painters from France, Germany, and England. It also houses one of the Museum’s most beloved paintings, Jules Bastien-Lepage’s The Wood Gatherer.

Take a tour through the gallery and learn more about the works on view, with Tanya Paul, Isabel and Alfred Bader Curator of European Art. Press the play button above to begin.

  • Jules Bastien-Lepage, The Wood Gatherer (Le Père Jacques), 1881. Layton Art Collection Inc., Gift of Mrs. E. P. Allis and her daughters in memory of Edward Phelps Allis, L102. Photo by John R. Glembin.