The Fine Arts Academy of Ravenna opened on 26th November 1829. Since that date a fascinating path started for the town whose artistic and cultural ambitions affected it thanks to a succession of actors and purposes.
The first years are connected to Ignazio Sarti (1790-1854), a Bolognese artist who completed his training in Rome, and was the main actor in developing an intense start-up especially in getting new works, prints and plaster cast copies including an important group by Canova, still nowadays a precious heritage of the Academy.
At the beginning the Academy Direction was completely neoclassic, but afterwards, with the arrival of Florentine Arturo Moradei (1840-1901) in 1870, it became much more naturalistic, leading the passage to the aspectations of the painters so called “della macchia” (literally patch or spot), opening the topoi of that kind of painting, that will be known in Ravenna as the Genre painting all through the century up to the following director, Domenico Miserocchi, also called “il Pastorino”.
In the early twentieth century there was an intense innovative stimulus expressed by the direction of Vittorio Guaccimanni (1859-1939) who applied himself in order to make the relationship much more effective between the artistic and industrial educational offer of the Academy, and the reality of Romagna territory.
Meanwhile, in Europe the symbolist-decadent movement started. In 1903 Gustav Klimt visited Ravenna where the famous beautiful mosaics likely inspired his gold technique and his Byzantine imagery. Important figures also appeared among the students of Academy in that period.