Academic Art is any painting, sculpture, or building created according to the tenets of an academy. Because European art academies were royal foundations of the 17th and 18th centuries, the art they sponsored was of necessity aristocratic and adhered to the ideals and principles of the ruling class.
By the early 19th century, however, academic art and its instruction all too often fell into formularized sterility, although almost every artist of the past currently admired had some academic training. In particular the Parisian École des Beaux-Arts was held up to scorn by many 19th and 20th century artists, and the term academic art had, by 1930, become a pejorative for stilted, eclectic hack work. In the 1970s, however, as historians revised their judgment, much academic work returned to favor.