The Academy of San Carlos is located at 22 Academia Street in just northeast of the main plaza of Mexico City. It was the first major art academy and the first art museum in the Americas. It was founded in 1781 as the School of Engraving and moved to the Academia Street location about 10 years later. It emphasized classical European training until the early 20th century, when it shifted to a more modern perspective. At this time, it also integrated with the National Autonomous University of Mexico, eventually becoming the Faculty of Arts and Design, which is based in Xochimilco. Currently, only graduate courses of the modern school are given in the original academy building.
The Academy of San Carlos was founded in 1781 under the name of the School of Engraving. From that time to the present, it has been renamed many times to The Royal Academy of the Three Noble Arts of San Carlos (Real Academia de la Tres Nobles Artes de San Carlos) (1783), Academia Nacional de San Carlos de México (1821); Academia Imperial de San Carlos de México (1863); Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes (1867) and Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas (1929).
Mexican painter Miguel Cabrera iterated the need for an art academy as early as 1753 but attempts by him and other prominent Mexican artists of the time to gain royal permission for such was never obtained. The School of Engraving was begun later in the building that used to be the mint, and would later become the modern-day National Museum of Cultures. Ten years later, it moved to the former Amor de Dios Hospital, where it remains to this day. The street it is located on was renamed from Amor de Dios Street to Academia Street in its honor.
To visit Academia de San Carlos and other attractions in Mexico City, use our Mexico City tour itinerary planning site .
Academia de San Carlos Reviews
We did not find anything exciting about this building, displays had some university students walking around and some people sitting on the grass, we snapped some pictures, visited the place and got... more »
The academy has a long history as an art school. The permanent collection is OK but they often have very interesting temporary exhibits, more geared towards classical painting. more »
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