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Art of Gold

Painting, sculpture and romance inside Russia’s famous classical art academy

There are art schools all over the world but none quite like St-Petersburg’s academy of fine arts.  There’s no modernism to be found here, classical art and classic techniques are still taught, a place where creativity comes from the heart and love is just as important as paint or clay in creating great work.  Students come from all over the world to learn the old ways that respect form above all else, they even still study anatomy, unheard of in most modern art colleges.  This place is seen as the gold standard in classical art training, the intensely creative  environment is a hot house for romance and an idyllic oasis of beauty where the ancient walls keep the outside world of conflict and war at bay.

In Russia’s second-largest city, Saint Petersburg, there exists an art school unlike any in the world – at least in this era. The Saint Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts is an ancient institute which has preserved classical art and instruction for hundreds of years. Through empires and revolutions, this special school has maintained what it refers to as the “gold standard” of artistic expression.

Related: The priceless art inside St. Petersburg's State Hermitage Museum is guarded by cats

Though in ancient times, the teachers were from all over the world, now it’s the world which comes to Russia to study classical art. Students study all forms – painting, drawing, sculpting, and restoration, to name a few. They even study human anatomy, something unheard of in this modern age. The academy believes that professionals need a good understanding of the basics, so modern or experimental art is nowhere to be found within these walls.

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The students find inspiration and love, both for the art and for one another. Many young couples have met each other during their tenure here. The academy seeks to remain more or less isolated from the events of the world, and the students here wouldn’t have it any other way. They all appreciate the safety and comfort of their “second home”, as they call it.The Saint Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts has existed by one name or another for many a generation, and the classical beauty and talent within its walls are clear evidence of a wondrous artistic tradition.