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Academic art refers to the art which was created in accordance with the doctrines of the official academies of painting that dominated much of the art world from the 17th to the 19th centuries.

In these academies the merits of ancient art and the work of 'classical' painters such as Raphael and Poussin were extolled.

Academic training was strictly controlled. It initially involved drawing after prints, then after sculptures, then the drawing of the live model. This was followed by compositional studies, leading to the ultimate goal of History painting.