academies of art, official organizations of established artists. Lorenzo de' Medici's informal circle of great artists and thinkers was modeled on similar groups formed in classical Greece. The first official academy, the Accademia del Disegno, was founded in Florence by Vasari in 1561. Offshoots of this were the prototypes for the powerful Academie royale de peinture et de sculpture founded in 1648, the first of many French academies. The academies dictated elaborate conventions and aesthetic doctrines for the manufacture of works of art and the term “academic” came to imply derivative rather than creative work. The English Royal Academy, founded in 1768, now serves primarily as an art school and exhibition facility. The American Academy in Rome is a school that embraces many fields, including music and classical studies.
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