The Academy of Fine Arts, Munich – A Presentation.

To start off this presentation I shall begin telling you about the main focus of this topic; ” The Academy of Fine Arts” in Munich, Germany.


The Academy was founded by a man named Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria in 1808 and was originally named “Royal Academy of Fine Arts” by Duke Maximilian himself. Before this it was a drawing school founded in 1770 which was destroyed in the war, however in 1946: the arts-and-crafts school was again incorporated into the Academy’s choice of running courses. The Academy’s original intent was to be a hierarchy for all art schools in which painting, graphics, sculpture and architecture have been the main focus of the Academy’s curriculum.

(Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria)

In 1886 The Academy of Fine Arts moved into its new premises, built by Gottfried von (of) Neureuther who engineered the Ludwig South-North Railway and was an early student of the school himself. In more recent years an extension on the building was finished in 2005 by Coop Himmelbau.

(drawing of Gottfried von Neureuther, The Academy of Fine Arts, Ludwig South-North Railway)

The architecture within Munich around the 1800’s (the time Gottfried built the academy) was very much stone based with cast bronze features and statues.

Many an artist, sculptor and architect has come and gone from the Academy’s walls alongside many styles and influences. Some of the well known artists who passed through the Academy are: Otto Mueller, Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Franz Marc, Lovis Corinth and my personal favourite, Jan Tschichold. Tschichold was a typographer, book designer, teacher and writer who is claimed to be one of the most powerful influences on 20th century typography, though there are few who would attempt to deny this statement. He worked on the design of Penguin books and some of the fonts he designed are Transit (1931), Zeus (1931) and Saskia (1932). See some of his work below:

Jan Tschichold copy jannan janTschichold-The-Wo-002 janTschichold JT6013
(Jan’s work, his designs for Penguin Books, and a portrait of Jan himself second to the right)

Jan created a set of typographic principles which he published under the title “Elementaire Typographie”. In 1928, Tschichold published Die Neue Typographie, a full directory of his new ideas for typographic design. It is the first manual of typography for designers.

immagine18 544_coverbig
(Jan’s “Elementaire Typographie” pages)

Jan was the son of a signwriter, his first career was as a calligrapher for advertisements, he was exposed to typography and trained in calligraphy since he was young, however his connection with The Academy of Fine Arts is significant. Jan  was bourn in Leipzig, Germany (one of the main book-printing/print cities) before entering Munich for his studies.
Long after Jan graduated from Munich school Hitler was elected and The Nazis disliked Tschichold’s asymmetrical designs, he and his wife were then arrested before fleeing to Switzerland where they lived until his death in 1974.

(Jan Tschichold’s font, Sabon.)

Currently the Principal of The Academy of Fine Arts Prof. Dieter Rehm, the ‘deputy heads’ or ‘vice-presidents being Prof.Urs Greutmann, Frank Hilger, Prof. Karin Kneffel and  Prof. Hermann Pitz. There is and always has been a large number of both foreign and German applications every year, even since it’s founding in the 1800’s. 700 students are currently taught by 36 professors. 60 lecturers complete the programme with special courses and the high proportion of international students proves the academy’s amazing international reputation. One of the Academy’s most famous international graduates was named Giorgio de Chirico.

(Ariel view of The Academy of Fine Arts, Munich)

Giorgio de Chirico was an Italian artist who studied at Athens School of Fine Arts then the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He founded the scuola metafisica art movement, which later influenced the surrealists. Giorgio then began working in neoclassical and  neo-Baroque style, while still sticking to his metaphysical style of before.

The Painter's Family 1926 by Giorgio de Chirico 1888-1978 Giorgio_de_Chirico_(portrait)

Another international student of The Academy of Fine Arts, Munich was Paul Klee, he was born in Münchenbuchsee, Switzerland, in 1879. His work mainly consisted of cubism, expressionism and surrealism.
This just shows the wide variety of styles that passed through The Academy of Fine Arts in Munich with students studying a range of different courses as you can see below:

Free Art

Sculpture, stage design and costume, photography, glass, goldsmithing, graphics, ceramics, painting, media artArt Education (First State Exam)

Sculpture, graphics, painting, mediaInterior Design (BA)

Figures in space, product design, interior design

Advanced degrees
Architecture and Arts (MA) Visual Arts and therapy Interior Architecture (MA)
Studiengang- and class cross-listing
Theory Chairs

Art history, art education, philosophy (Aesthetic Theory)cx centrum for interdisciplinary studiesProject classes

Digital and time-based media, visiting professorsStudy workshops

Erzguss, photography, plaster casting and stucco, glass processing, glass painting and mosaic, goldsmithing, wood, ceramic, plastic, lithography, Illustration Technique, metal, new media, media education, paper and recycling, etching, screen printing, stone sculpture, typography and high pressure

The official website for The Academy of Fine Arts, Munich is:

That concludes my presentation, thank-you for listening.


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