The Academy of Fine Arts
The Academy of Fine Arts is one of Carrara’s most renowned symbols; the pulsating artistic and cultural heart of the city is located in one of its most ancient and prestigious buildings. Founded at the end of the 1700s with the clear intent of encouraging the craft and trade of marble, the school, among the most ancient in Europe, was mostly dedicated to architecture and sculpture.
In order to host the lessons and the numerous students from all over Italy and abroad, the so-called Red Palace was built – the building now hosts the City Library but in 1810 the Accademia was moved into the newly restored Malaspima Castle. Many of the artists that came to Carrara searching for the perfect block of marble for their artwork donated their preliminary molds and plaster works to the school’s plaster cast gallery.
Antonio Canova, Lorenzo Bartolini and Bertel Thorwaldsen are a few of the most renowned artists that frequented the Academy, but some of the students went on to becoming teachers and gave their own personal contribution to the school’s archive, a massive collection of sculptures that keeps track of how taste and styles have evolved throughout the last two centuries.
The archaeological collection is also of a certain interest: it displays Roman works found near Luni. One of the most interesting finds is the Roman shrine of Fanti Scritti, a bas-relief of the third century AD removed from the Fanti Scritti quarry that depicts three young boys, Hercules with Zeus and Dionysus, surrounded by a tangle of carved signatures, kind of like our contemporary tags, of artists such as Giambologna and Canova, plus many more that left their mark over the centuries.
The Academy still is Carrara’s cultural hotbed and its worldwide ambassador, it has managed to maintain its strong bond with the past but at the same time it is projected towards the future. The school offers courses in graphic design, digital arts and robotic science, trying to keep up with the ever-evolving sculptural discipline and the new uses of marble in art.
Source: Trame di Lunigiana