National Academy School Of Fine Arts
When the Academy was founded, there were few public art galleries and no art schools in New York. The school's first classes in 1826 were located in the Old Alms House at City Hall Park. During its early years of operation, groups of young artists met with established professionals to draw from casts. Classes averaged about twenty-five pupils, but in later years that number doubled. A portion of the original educational program was devoted to lectures given by such distinguished men as William Cullen Bryant, Gulian C. Verplanck, and Alexander Jackson Davis, on topics that included anatomy, perspective, ancient history, architecture, and mythology.
In 1837, the Academy added a Life School to its curriculum for advanced male students. A life class for women, however, was not instituted until 1857, even though women had always been allowed membership in the Academy and were relatively frequent contributors to its annual exhibitions. As early as 1831, in fact, the Council had opened the School of the Antique "for a class of ladies on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 12 to 3 o'clock." Classes for women were held sporad...
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