Accademia di San Luca

The Accademia di San Luca, (the "Academy of Saint Luke") was founded in 1577 as an association of artists in Rome (under the directorship of Federico Zuccari from 1593[1]), with the purpose of elevating the work of "artists", which included painters, sculptors and architects, above that of mere craftsmen. Other founders included Girolamo Muziano and Pietro Olivieri. The Academy was named after Saint Luke the evangelist who, legend has it, made a portrait of the Virgin Mary, and thus became the patron saint of painters' guilds.

From the late 16th century until it moved to its present location at the Palazzo Carpegna, it was based in an urban block by the Roman Forum and although these buildings no longer survive, the Academy church of Santi Luca e Martina, does. Designed by the Baroque architect, Pietro da Cortona, its main facade overlooks the Forum.

Accademia di San Luca
Luke evangelist Guercino
St. Luke Displaying a Painting of the Virgin by Guercino
Named afterSt. Luke
Founded atRome
TypeAssociation of artists
PurposeElevating the work of "artists"
LeaderFederico Zuccari
SecessionsAccademia Nazionale di San Luca
Formerly called
Compagnia di San Luca


The Academy's predecessor was the Compagnia di San Luca, a guild of painters and miniaturists, which had its statutes and privileges renewed at the much earlier date of 17 December 1478 by Pope Sixtus IV. Included among its founding members, was the famous painter Melozzo da Forlì, as he was the pictor papalis in that period.

In 1605, Pope Paul V granted the Academy the right to pardon a condemned man on the feast of St. Luke. In the 1620s, Urban VIII extended its rights to decide who was considered an artist in Rome and it came under the patronage of his nephew, Cardinal Francesco Barberini. In 1633, Urban VIII gave it the right to tax all artists as well as art-dealers, and monopolize all public commissions. These latter measures raised strong opposition and apparently were poorly enforced.[2]

Over the early years, the papal authorities exerted a large degree of control over the leadership of the institution. Some modern critics have stated "with the ostensible purpose of giving artists a higher education and the real one of asserting the Church's control over art,".[3]

The prìncipi (directors) of the institution have included some of the pre-eminent painters of the 17th century, including Domenichino, Bernini, Cortona and Romanelli. However, many prominent artists never joined or were admitted to the academy.

The Cortona-Sacchi Debate and other artistic issues

Artistic issues debated within the Academy included the Cortona-Sacchi controversy (see Andrea Sacchi for further details of this debate) about the number of figures in a painting. Disdain was espressed by many academicians for the Bamboccianti.[4]

Giovanni Bellori gave famous lectures on painting in the Academy. In the early 18th century, the painter Marco Benefial was inducted, and then expelled for criticizing the academy as an insider.

Recent times

The Academy is still active; the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca is its modern descendant. From the very beginning, the statutes of the Academy directed that each candidate-academician was to donate a work of his art in perpetual memory and, later, a portrait. Thus the Academy, in its current premises in the 16th-century Palazzo Carpegna, located in the Piazza dell'Accademia di San Luca, has accumulated a unique collection of paintings and sculptures, including about 500 portraits, as well as an outstanding collection of drawings.


Prominent artists to become Principi of the academy over the first 200 years include:

Claude Lorrain was a member but declined the offer of being principi. The Academy can also boast modern members, including sculptors Ernesto Biondi and Piccirilli Brothers.

External links


  1. ^ Goldstein, Carl – Teaching Art: Academies and Schools from Vasari to Albers. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996, p. 30. ISBN 0-521-55988-X
  2. ^ Haskell, Francis (1993) [1980]. "Chapter 8". Patrons and Painters: Art and Society in Baroque Italy. Yale University Press. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-0-300-02540-8.
  3. ^ according to Peter Robb, biographer of the Baroque artist Caravaggio
  4. ^ Roworth, Wendy Wassyng (1 January 1981). "A Date for Salvator Rosa's Satire on Painting and the Bamboccianti in Rome". The Art Bulletin. 63 (4): 611–617. doi:10.2307/3050166. JSTOR 3050166.

Coordinates: 41°54′6″N 12°29′1″E / 41.90167°N 12.48361°E

Achille Albacini

Achille Albacini (April 19, 1841 –1914) was an Italian sculptor.

He was born in Rome. He trained at the Accademia di San Luca. Among his works are:



Tamar in act of covering herself

L'acquaiola Pompeiana


La Primavera

Adolfo Apolloni

Adolfo Apolloni (March 1, 1855 – October 19, 1923) was an Italian sculptor. He was born in Rome, in what was then the Papal States. He attended the Accademia di San Luca. He participated in an international art exposition in Venice in 1899. He was mayor of Rome (1919–1920). He died in Rome, Kingdom of Italy.

Andrea Pozzi

Andrea Pozzi (1778–1833) was an Italian painter, active mainly in his native Rome, as a painter of religious and mythologic histories.

He painted a Virgin and Saints, painted for the City of Camerino. In 1820 he painted a Martyrdom of St. Stephen for a chapel of Santa Maria Rotundo in Rome. He was President of the Accademia di San Luca for many years.

Antonio della Cornia

Antonio della Cornia (c. 1584 – 1654) was an Italian Baroque painter working in Rome. He was a member of the Accademia di San Luca from 1634, and painted mainly religious subjects.


The Bentvueghels (Dutch for "Birds of a Feather") were a society of mostly Dutch and Flemish artists active in Rome from about 1620 to 1720. They are also known as the Schildersbent ("painters' clique").

Clelia Bompiani

Clelia Bompiani-Battaglia (5 August 1848, Rome – 23 February 1927, Rome) was an Italian painter. She was a pupil of her father, Roberto Bompiani, and of the professors in the Accademia di San Luca. The following paintings in watercolor established her reputation as an artist: Confidential Communication ( (1885); the Fortune-Teller (1887); A Public Copyist (1888); and The Wooing (1888). Along with Alceste Campriani, Ada Negri, Juana Romani, and Erminia de Sanctis, Bompiani is named as one of Italy's best modern painters.

Faustina Bracci Armellini

Faustina Bracci Armellini (1785–1857) was an Italian pastellist

Born in Rome, Bracci Armellini was the daughter of Virginio Bracci, an architect, and granddaughter of the sculptor Pietro Bracci. In 1811 she became a member of the Accademia di San Luca, which preserves a self-portrait, dating to that year, in which she is seen copying a portrait of Antonio Canova by Sir Thomas Lawrence. In 1812 she married Carlo Armellini. All of her known works date to after 1800.

Filippo Barigioni

Filippo Barigioni (1690–1753) was an Italian sculptor and architect working in the Late Baroque tradition.

Bariogioni was born in Rome. His career was spent largely on papal commissions, including aqueducts and fountains, in and around Rome. As a professor of architecture at the Accademia di San Luca, his most important pupil was Carlo Marchionni.

He died in Rome in 1753.

Francesco Manno

Francesco Manno (20 December 1754 - 18 June 1831) was an Italian painter and architect. Born at Palermo in 1754, he was originally a goldsmith, but later devoted himself to painting. In 1786 he settled at Rome, working in the studio of Francesco Preziado de la Vega. Manno became the Secretary of the Accademia di San Luca. On 13 July 1794 he became a member of the Accademia dei Virtuosi del Pantheon. Favored by Pope Pius VI, Manno was appointed Painter of the Sacred Apostolic Buildings in 1800. He died in Rome in 1831.

Giovanni Battista Buonocore

Giovanni Battista Buonocore (1643 in Campli, Province of Teramo, Abruzzo – May 22, 1699 in Rome) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period. He became Rector (1679), then Principe (1698) (replacing the Maratta) of the Accademia di San Luca of Rome.

Louis-Nicolas Cabat

Louis-Nicolas Cabat (6 December 1812, Paris – 13 March 1893, Paris) was a French landscape painter.

He was one of the most illustrious students of Camille Flers. A member of the Accademia di San Luca in Rome, Cabat was elected a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts of the Institut de France in 1867 and was director of the French Academy in Rome from 1879 to 1884.

In 1883 Cabat travelled in France with his friends Constant Troyon and Jules Dupré in search of landscapes.

Marcello Leopardi

Marcello Leopardi (1750-1795) was an Italian painter, depicting both sacred subjects and history in a late-Baroque and early Neoclassic style.He was born presumably in Potenza Picena. By 1768, he was participating in contests sponsored by the Accademia del nudo in Campidoglio, Rome. In 1771, he won a third prize in a painting contest held by the Accademia di San Luca. He is cited as a pupil of either Stefano Pozzi or Tommaso Conca.

In 1782, he moved to Perugia, where he completed a number of paintings for the oratory of the Confraternita della Giustizia. He was one of the artists employed in decorating the Perugia Cathedral (1782-1785). He also helped decorate the palazzi Conestabile della Staffa and Ranieri with frescoes depicting mythologic and classic history themes. He moved to Foligno, where he decorated other palaces.

He was commissined by Pope Pius VI to complete an altarpiece of the Guardian Angels for the church of Sant'Andrea a Subiaco in Rome. He continued to work in Rome, often producing works for churches in other towns, including Viterbo and Catania.

In 1794, he was elected academic of merit of the Accademia di San Luca of Rome, submitting an entry canvas depicting Amore e Psiche. The work was derided as scandalous by Tommaso Conca. In 1794 he also joined the Congregazione dei Virtuosi al Pantheon.

Vincenzo Ferreri (painter) of Perugia was a pupil.

Niccolò Lapiccola

Niccolò Lapiccola (1730–1790) was an Italian painter. He was born at Crotone in 1730 (some sources say February 1720), and took lessons at Rome from Francesco Mancini. He supplied the designs for the mosaics for one of the chapels of St. Peter's Basilica. One of his pupils is the engraver Stefano Tofanelli and Bernardino Nocchi. He later became an academician in 1766 and later honorary member of Accademia di San Luca in 1771 He died at Rome.

His other paintings included Life of Psyche, Stigmata of St. Francis (San Lorenzo in Panisperna) and decoration of the golden hall with mythological scenes at Palazzo Chigi, Rome.

Paolo Albertoni

Paolo Albertoni was an Italian painter of the late-Baroque period. He was born in Rome and trained in the studio of Carlo Maratti. He joined the Accademia di San Luca in Rome in 1695, and died soon after. There are pictures by him in the church of San Carlo al Corso, in Santa Maria in the Campo Marzo, Santa Marta al Collegio Romano, and other churches in Rome. He frescoed for the chapel in the Palazzo Chigi in Formello .

Paolo Porpora

Paolo Porpora (1617–1673) was an Italian painter of the late-Baroque, who was active mainly in Naples and specialized in floral still lifes. He is documented as a pupil of Giacomo Recco, the father of Giuseppe Recco, and said to have worked under Aniello Falcone. He joined the Roman Accademia di San Luca from 1656 to 1658. He appears to have been influenced in Rome by Netherlandish still-life painters. Among his pupils were Giovan Battista Ruoppolo and the Neapolitan Onofrio Loth (died 1717).

Raffaello Vanni

Raffaello Vanni (1590 ca-1673) was an Italian painter of the Baroque.

He was born at Siena. He first trained with his father, Francesco Vanni, who died in 1610. He was afterwards sent to Rome, and recommended to the care of Antonio Carracci. He became a follower of the style of Pietro da Cortona. He painted a Birth of the Virgin for Santa Maria della Pace. He also painted two lunette paintings for Santa Maria del Popolo representing The royal ancestors of the Virgin and The sacerdotal ancestors of the Virgin in 1653. These oil on wood panels were placed above the tombs of Agostino and Sigismondo Chigi in the Chigi Chapel. A Marriage of S. Catharine by him is in the Pitti Palace, and other pictures at Siena and Pisa. He was a member of the Accademia di San Luca in 1655. His brother, Michelangelo Vanni, is better known as the inventor of a process of making pictures by staining marble than as an artist. One of Raffaello's pupils was Deifebo Burbarini.

Roberto Bompiani

Roberto Bompiani (February 10, 1821 – January 19, 1908) was an Italian painter and sculptor.

Bompiani was born in Rome. By the age of fifteen, he had enrolled at the Accademia di San Luca in Rome, where in 1836 he shared a first prize with fellow student in design, Angelo Valeriani. By 1839, he was able to win prizes both in sculpture and painting at the Accademia. He was remarkably prolific, especially as a painter. He is particularly known for paintings of scenes from Ancient Rome, for which he gained the nickname "the Italian Bouguereau".

Among his sculptural works, almost all from 1865–1870, are Sappho (Palazzo Castellani, Rome), Ruth, and the statuettes Amore che cerca chi deve ferire and Alexander tames Bucephalus.

Among his paintings are a Portrait of Queen Margherita (1878) at the Palazzo di Montecitorio; Portraits of the Borghese family; Portrait of Signora Liverani (1866, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome); Portrait of Marchese Ferrajoli; Portrait of his wife (1873); Diana and Actaeon; Dance and Tragedy for the Theater of Santiago de Chile; and two canvases for a church in Santiago: Ascencion of the Virgin and Crown of Thorns. He also painted frescoes in San Lorenzo in Lucina; frescoes in Santa Maria in Trastevere: San Romano Martyr; and the fresco on the portico of the Cemetery of Campo Verano: Moses' Curse: Death of the First-born of Egypt.

At the Centennial Exhibition in 1876 in Philadelphia, Bompiani exhibited a Roman girl placing garlands on the bust of his father and the Suonatore di Tibia (Flutist). These were the first of his popular Pompeian works. He painted Catullus at the banks of the Tiber, l'Affissatore pompeiano, the Triclinium, and a partita a gli astragali.

He exhibited at the Mostra internazionale of Vienna where he won an award for his portrait of Giovanni Battista Canevari (1872), that now hangs at the Accademia di San Luca.He rose to become professor and president of the Accademia di San Luca in Rome. Both his son, Augusto Bompiani, and his daughter, Clelia Bompiani, were also painters.

Rose Lefebvre

Rose Lefebvre (1743–1774) was a French pastellist.

Born in Abbeville, Lefebvre was the daughter of engraver Philippe-Augustin Lefebvre and his wife, Marie-Claudine Galuchet. Charles Wignier de Warre claimed that she was a talented pastellist, and described her as a member of the Accademia di San Luca.

Tommaso Salini

Tommaso Salini (1575 – 13 September 1625) was an Italian painter of the early-Baroque period, active in Rome. He is best remembered for defending his friend, Giovanni Baglione, in his libel suit against Caravaggio and other painters in his circle. Baglioni describes his still life paintings. He joined the Accademia di San Luca in 1605. Salini is a frequently forgotten Baroque artist who fell under the spell of Caravaggio, despite having a tempestuous relationship with the great painter. Salini, also known as Mao, was a friend of Giovanni Baglione, the Italian art biographer, who included Salini in his Le vite de’ pittori. Art historians have often shied away from exploring Salini’s career because the canvases that have carried his name seem stylistically dissimilar. The recent tendency has been to attribute these works to anonymous Pseudo-Salini painters. In order for Salini’s oeuvre to be presented with accuracy, connoisseurs have had to inspect the original works that Baglione mentions as being by Salini’s hand, as well as the pictures that have been successfully attributed to him.

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