San Alejandro Academy

San Alejandro Academy
San Alejandro Academy

San Alejandro Academy dedicated to artistic teaching.

San Alejandro Academy is a teaching center dedicated to artistic teaching. It was founded in 1818 making it the oldest of its kind in Cuba and Latin America. In Cuba it is only surpassed by the University of Havana. Over time it had its settlement in different places in the Cuban capital, until 1962 when it was transferred to one of the four buildings that make up the Sculptural Ensemble of the Marianao Obelisk.

A school of teachers.

San Alejandro Academy was founded exactly on January 11, 1818 in the convent of San Agustín, in Havana. The French painter Jean Baptiste Vermay was the founder of this distinguished center of Cuban art and from 1832 onwards it was called San Alejandro to remember Alejandro Ramírez, general superintendent and director of the Royal Economic Society of Friends of the Country.

A year later it became a Section of the Royal Academy of Noble Arts of San Fernando in Madrid and from 1883 the Academy of Arts San Alejandro joined the University and the awarded students received the title in the Aula Magna.

In its first century, it was directed by important French and Italian artists. Great figures of plastic arts and engraving have passed through there, such as the sculptors Rita Longa, creator of the mural that embellishes the front of the Habana Libre Hotel and Juan José Sicre, the creator of the José Martí Memorial.

Agustín Cárdenas one of the 10 greatest sculptors of the 20th century and painters such as Víctor Manuel, Flora Fong, Roberto Fabelo, Servando Cabrera Moreno, Fidelio Ponce de León, Raúl Martínez, Jorge Arche and Eduardo Abela also studied in their classrooms.

Renowned artists in San Alejandro.

San Alejandro has been directed by renowned artists, both Cuban and foreign. Among them is remembered Joseph Leclere, who taught and started modeling classes at the school in 1848.

Federico Mialhe, an Italian landscaper and scientist who took over the management in 1850 and reaffirmed the landscape in 19th century painting, also passed by.

Miguel Melero, Leopoldo Romañach and Armando Menocal, who opened new concepts for teaching also directed the center. Esteban Valderrama y Peña, Enrique Caravia, Florencio Gelabert and Carmelo González, founder of the Cuban Engravers Association and who incorporated wood engraving, woodcut and intaglio printing into teaching.

Domingo Ravenet, Juan José Sicre, Rita Longa, Agustín Cárdenas, Víctor Manuel, Fidelio Ponce de León, Jorge Arche, Eduardo Abela, Raúl Martínez, Servando Cabrera Moreno, Juan Moreira, Flora Fong and Roberto Fabelo are names of important artists in Cuba and who went through the Academy.

Another curious fact is that José Martí, The Hero of the Republic, was enrolled for a few months in the center and Camilo Cienfuegos was also part of the staff.

Saint Alexander today, other peculiarities.

Today classes in painting, engraving, sculpture, graphics, ceramics and Digital Art are taught. It makes available to students and researchers a historical archive related to the Academy that opens from Monday to Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 5.00 p.m.

The archives keep documents of pro-independence fighters, fighters against Batista’s tyranny and fighters of our revolutionary feat.

It has several chairs, that of Drawing, Painting, Engraving, Sculpture, Ceramics, Jewelry, Graphics and Digital Art and that of Theoretical-Cultural Subjects. This gives us the idea of how wide the learning spectrum is in the Academy.

To access it, the Entrance Exams are held where applicants take 5 Natural Drawing, Creative, Creative Painting, Modeling exams and a written theoretical appreciation exam for the arts. Close an oral interview where the work folders are presented.

Annually the number of admission places is made by plans, 20 by the 9th Grade Plan, 15 students by the 12th Grade Plan and 20 students by the Night Plan. In this way, the option reaches remote places and places in the country where talent almost always lies unknown or worked in low profile through the Houses of Culture.

Students and teachers have managed to overcome obstacles by imposing creativity, art, and avant-garde social commitment to the most authentic of the island’s cultural identity.

Today it is a Reference Center for the teaching of visual arts in the country, as well as a National Methodological Center, and it belongs to the Ministry of Culture and the National Center for Art Schools.

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