Who we are
CONSIGLIO DI PRESIDENZA
The Pontificia Insigne Accademia di Belle Arti e Lettere dei Virtuosi al Pantheon originated in the 16th century in the aim “of encouraging the study, exercise and improvement of Letters and the Fine Arts and to promote the spiritual elevation of artists”. It was recognized by Pope Paul III on 5 October 1543. It is the oldest existing national artistic association.
The Academicians were “virtuosi”, that is, artists (painters, sculptors, architects). Among the first associates were Taddeo Zuccari, Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola, Beccafumi, Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and later the greatest artists and architects of all time such as Pietro da Cortona, Rainaldi, Algardi, Borromini, Lanfranco, Preti, Velasquez, Juvarra, Vanvitelli, Valadier, Canova and many other famous names.
Fifty ordinary papal Academicians divided into five classes are now part of the Academy: Architects, Painters and Filmmakers, Sculptors, Musicians and Cultivators of the Arts, Writers and Poets, as well as 49 honorary Academicians.
In addition to highlighting and enhancing its illustrious historical career, the Academy, following the impetus of the Pontifical Council for Culture, intends to promote again, with the innovative materials and methods of contemporary creativity, the humanistic, spiritual and metaphysical values that have always been part of the artistic mission and commitment of the Catholic Church, but which are also intrinsic to the art of all times.