'Academic painting' designates works of art created according to the recommendations of the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, opened in 1648. Philippe de Champaigne, a major academic painter of 17th-century France, gave several conferences on this subject. The subject is largely illustrated with paintings from the 17th century through to the late-19th century. These speeches have set the canons of the Academy, focusing on the creation of works largely inspired by the Greco-Roman aesthetic, whose characteristics include purity, harmony, and simplicity. These very same guidelines can be found in other European countries where Academies appeared during the 17th and 18th centuries (St Luke Academy in Rome and the Royal Academy of Arts in London, among others). This painting reached its climax during the late-19th century, with painters known as 'pompiers' who, faithfully following the traditional rules, were forced to face the modern approach of the Impressionists.
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