Prussian Academy of Arts

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The Prussian Academy of Arts building on Unter den Linden in Berlin, c. 1903

The Prussian Academy of Arts (German: Preußische Akademie der Künste) was an art school set up in Berlin, Brandenburg, in 1694/1696 by prince-elector Frederick III, in personal union Duke Frederick I of Prussia, and later king in Prussia. It had a decisive influence on art and its development in the German-speaking world throughout its existence. It dropped 'Prussian' from its name in 1945 and was finally disbanded in 1955 after the 1954 foundation of two separate academies of art for East Berlin and West Berlin in 1954. Those two separate academies merged in 1993 to form Berlin's present-day Academy of Arts.

After the Accademia dei Lincei in Rome and the Académies Royales in Paris, the Prussian Academy of Art was the oldest institution of its kind in Europe, with a similar foundational mission to other royal academies of that time, such as the Real Academia Española in Madrid, the Royal Society in London, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm or the Russian Academy of Sciences in St Petersburg. For an extended period of time it was also the German artists' society and training organisation, whilst the Academy's Senate became Prussia's arts council.

Name changes

  • 1696–1704 Kurfürstliche Academie der Mahler-, Bildhauer- und Architectur-Kunst (Electoral Academy of the Arts of Painter, Sculptor and Architecture)
  • 1704–1790 Königlich-Preussische Akademie der Künste und mechanischen Wissenschaften (Royal Prussian Academy of the Arts and Mechanical Sciences)
  • 1790–1809 Königliche Akademie der bildenden Künste und mechanischen Wissenschaften zu Berlin (Royal Academy of Fine Arts and Mechanical Sciences of Berlin)
  • 1809–1875 Königlich Preussische Akademie der Künste (Royal Prussian Academy of the Arts)
  • 1875–1882 Königlich Preussische Akademie der Künste zu Berlin (Royal Prussian Academy of the Arts of Berlin)
  • 1882–1918 Königliche Akademie der Künste zu Berlin (Royal Academy of the Arts of Berlin)
  • 1918–1926 Akademie der Künste zu Berlin (Academy of the Arts of Berlin)
  • 1926–1931 Preußische Akademie der Künste zu Berlin (Prussian Academy of the Arts of Berlin)
  • 1931–1945 Preussische Akademie der Künste (Prussian Academy of the Arts)

Sections for..., from 1931, Departments of...

  • From 1833: ...Fine Arts (die Bildenden Künste)
  • From 1835: ...Music (Musik)
  • From 1926: ...Art of Poetry (Dichtkunst); * from 1932: ...Poetry (Dichtung), * from the beginning of June 1933: German Academy of Poetry (Deutsche Akademie der Dichtung)


1694 to 1799

19th century

Rome scholarships

Imperial era

20th century

Students and professors

Emil Fuchs studied at the Academy under Fritz Schaper and Anton von Werner, shortly before 1891.[1][2]

Käthe Kollwitz became the first woman elected to the Prussian Academy, but with the coming to power of Adolf Hitler in 1933 she was expelled because of her beliefs and her art.

Otto Geyer studied there from 1859-1864.

Sculptor Wilhelm Neumann-Torborg studied at the academy from 1878 until 1885, under Otto Knille and Fritz Schaper.[3] In 1885, he won the Academy's Rome Scholarship for his thesis, "The Judgment of Paris".[3]

Painter Friedrich Wachenhusen studied there in 1889 under Eugen Bracht.

Painter and sculptor Paul Wallat studied there from 1902-1909 under de (Otto Brausewetter) (de) (1835-1904) and Carl Saltzmann. On December 29, 1906 he received the award of the Ginsberg Foundation of the Berlin Academy.

Anna Gerresheim studied there from 1876 for four years in the "ladies class" under Karl Gussow.

Oskar Frenzel studied there between 1884 and 1889 under Paul Friedrich Meyerheim and Eugen Bracht. He was from 1904 until his death a member of the Academy.


  1. See Commons category: Fritz Schaper
  2. Quoted on Tate website: Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.227-8
  3. 3.0 3.1 Cécile Zachlod. "Das Armenpflegedenkmal von Elberfeld im Wandel der Denkmalkultur um 1900" (PDF). Bergischer Geschichtsverein, Abt. Wuppertal. Retrieved 30 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

fr:Académie prussienne des arts