Royal Academy of Arts | royal academy schools
The Royal Academy Schools form the oldest art school in Britain. They offer a three-year postgraduate art course to students.
The Royal Academy Schools was the first institution to provide professional training for artists in Britain. The Schools' programme of formal training was modelled on that of the French
In 1769, the first year of operation, the Schools enrolled 77 students. By 1830 over 1,500 students had enrolled in the Schools, giving an average intake of 25 students each year. They included men such as John Flaxman,
Professors and Royal Academician "Visitors" taught through a series of lectures. Royal Academicians, practising artists, were elected as Visitors, and served in rotation for nine months of the year. Each Visitor attended for a month, setting the models and examining and instructing the performances of the students. This system lasted into the late 1920s, when Visitors were replaced with permanent teachers.
Today some 60 students study in the Schools on a three-year postgraduate course. The programme is focused on studio-based practice across all fine art media. The studios accommodate a wide variety of disciplines, including painting, sculpture, print, installation, and time-based and digital media. Selection of candidates is based on evidence of individual ability and commitment, with an emphasis on potential for further development across the three-year course. Students are given the opportunity twice each year to show their work in the Royal Academy.
The Academy has received many gifts and bequests of objects and money. Many of these gifts were used to establish Trust Funds to support the work of the Royal Academy Schools by providing "Premiums" to students displaying excellence in various artistic genre. The rapid changes in 20th-century art left some of the classifications of the older prize funds as somewhat anachronistic. But efforts are made to award each prize to a student producing work that bears a relation to the intentions of the original benefactor.