Last saturday afternoon the high-school that daughter M attended was open to the public, for a sort of self-advertising in view of the new academic year’s enrolments. It was ages since my daughter told me she wanted to go there, and see if she could have back all the works and projects she did over the years and that are stored in the school warehouse……
The Art Institute “Paolo Toschi” is housed in a wing of the farnese building “Pilotta” and on a street with the same name facing the river Parma. It occupies a big part of those same rooms that in 1752 the Duke of Parma Don Filippo Borbone had destined to the Academy of Fine Arts and where had its offices the Stamperia Reale (Royal Printing House) directed by Giambattista Bodoni who mastered here what made him famous in the world.
The eighteenth-century academy imposed itself at European level for the modernity of its statutes and for the prestige of its contests, that saw as a competitor, among the others, in 1771, the young promising spanish painter Francisco Goya. Among the Academic teachers, Ennemond Alexandre Petitot, architect of court and teacher of architecture and the sculptor Jean Baptiste Boudard are still remembered in town. Annexed to the academy, a particular evening school took care of the education of the local artisans. The tradition is still honored, the school holds evening courses for those working during the day.
After the Napoleonic order of closure, with the Duchess Maria Luigia the Academy recovered the ancient fame thanks to the direction of the great engraver PaoloToschi and to architect Nicolò Bettoli teaching, of the sculptor Tommaso Bandini, of the painter Giambattista Borghesi. In 1877 the academy is divided in the Academic College, with cultural finality, and in the Institute of Fine Arts, with didactic finality.
The institute, from 1883, became School of Art Applied to the Industry. With the 1923 reform the Institute of Art was articulated in three sections: Stage Design, Decoration, Architecture, and from 1940, Graphics. Each of the courses were of a three-years duration and to the grads they gave the License of Master of Art. Now the duration of the courses is of five years each, and they are Architecture, Graphics, Painting and Pictorial Decoration, Relief and Cataloguing of Cultural Property; from 1998 the course of Disciplines for Theater, Cinema and Modern Media took the place of Stage Design.
The students over the years had permission to make the school their own, decorating the walls of the corridors and of some classrooms….with Magritte as an inspiration….
……….remembering ancient Egypt……….
….emulating Keith Haring…..
or with original drawings.
These are the stairs leading to the “pollaio” (henhouse) the upper level rooms so called by the students going there between classes to revise a lesson, smoke and do the homeworks not done at home….
It was strange for my daughter to be there after almost 7 years, she said that paintings, drawings and decorations are still the same with some good additions…………and at 26 she said she was feeling old!!!
(inside pics are my daughters)