'A just foundation for future eminence of fame': Early British Responses to the Imperial Academy of Arts
Much has been made of the relationship between the Imperial Academy of Arts, founded in St Petersburg in 1757, and the French Académie de Peinture et de Sculpture, which had been established in Paris just over a century before. Such interest is unsurprising, as the French Académie served as the model for the Russian institution, and provided many of its first professors. Yet the focus on the Russo-French axis has eclipsed an equally stimulating dialogue which developed between the Imperial Academy and the Royal Academy, London, which opened a decade after its Russian counterpart, in 1768. This paper will explore the emerging relationship between these two institutions, and establish the ways in which aspects of governance, policy, and practice in St Petersburg were echoed or emulated in London. Of particular interest is the mediation of Prince Hoare, Secretary for Foreign Correspondence at the Royal Academy who, in actively soliciting information from and dialogue with the Russian Academy in the early nineteenth century, played a central role in disseminating knowledge of Russia's premier art school.
Paper given at the Fifth Fitzwilliam Colloquium in Russian Studies "British Perception and Reception of Russian Culture, 18th-20th Centuries", Cambridge, 2012.