The great reformer Peter I already dreamed of establishing the academies of arts, similar to those abroad, in Russia. Yet, he didn’t have time, and the grandiose plans were implemented by his daughter Elizabeth, or rather by her faithful aide Count Ivan Shuvalov, the ideologist of the Russian Enlightenment and the founder of the Moscow University. He proposed a special “Academy of the Three Noblest Arts” as part of the Moscow University, but initially, it opened in the capital, in Shuvalov’s own palace. The lectures started in 1785, and the course was planned for 9 years. The best students were entitled to government-sponsored internships abroad. Later, a separate building for the academy was built on the Universitetskaya Embankment, and the institution was renamed to the Imperial Academy of Arts. Even though the three noblest arts still reigned supreme: painting, sculpture, and architecture.
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