“Academy: Originally, the garden near Athens where Plato taught. Art academies developed in reaction to medieval guilds and became schools for the practical and theoretical training of artists, elevating their status in society. In baroque times they were universities of art, and they continued as powerful arbiters of taste until the end of the 19th century. Rigorous study of the human form and highly structured teaching based on classical standards characterized most academy instruction.”
Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.