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the oldest academy in german speaking area

The Founders of the Academy

Gründungsurkunde der Akademie

Founded in 1662 by Jacob von Sandrart, the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg is the oldest art college in the German-speaking world. Fine and applied arts have since formed key sectors of learning, although emphasises have shifted in one direction or the other over the centuries.

Today learning takes the form of interdisciplinary interaction, the dialogue between fine and applied disciplines. It is flanked by new degree courses and a new media technology study programme.

In 1954, following temporary residence in the castle of the Teutonic Order in Ellingen, the academy moved to its own premises designed by Sep Ruf in a wooded area around Nuremberg Zoo. The transparent pavilion architecture in the east of the city – the first listed building of the post-war period in Southern Germany – has been extended several times, most recently by a new building by Hascher Jehle Architektur, completed in April 2013.


Literature (selected):

∙    350 – Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg. Commemorative publication on the 350th anniversary. Published by the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg. Nuremberg 2012.


∙    Geartete Kunst. Die Nürnberger Akademie im Nationalsozialismus. Published by the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg. Nuremberg 2012.


∙    Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Nürnberg. Published by the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg. Nuremberg 1999.


Here you can find further literature.





Foundation of the art academy

In 1662 the copperplate engraver and art dealer Jacob von Sandrart, the mathematician, astronomer and engraver Georg Christoph Eimmart, the painter and architect Elias von Goedeler and city council member Joachim Nützel found a 'painting academy' in Nuremberg. It is the first art academy in the German-speaking world. In the beginning the gatherings are held at Sandrart's home. Artists and interested laymen meet, draw and discuss art. A few years later the city of Nuremberg assumes sole responsibility for the institution, which initially is privately funded. The internationally famous painter, copperplate engraver and man of letters Joachim von Sandrart is appointed at its head.


1672 to 1819

Painting academy sites

In 1672 the painting academy rents a room in the 'Rose' at the corn market for its gatherings and already two years later, a larger rent-free room in the former monastery of the Discalced Friars. From 1699 to 1819 the academy is located on the premises of St. Catherine's convent, with a brief interlude from 1814 to 1817 when it is used as a Russian military hospital. The academy is then moved to the castle. Another move takes place in 1833 to the Landauer Twelve Brothers' House. The academy will remain there until moving to its new building in Flaschenhofstrasse at the end of the 19th century.



Foundation of the drawing school

In 1716 a drawing school for training in arts and crafts is founded in Nuremberg. The two imperial city institutions are closely linked from their inception. The drawing school is primarily intended to foster new talent and promote the arts & crafts and building trade in the imperial city, thus maintaining its competitive edge with high quality standards. The drawing school is already affiliated to the academy in 1718. Forty years or so later it again becomes independent and finally closes in 1843.


1820/21 | 1833

Royal Art School | Arts & crafts school

In 1820/21 the Nuremberg academy is renamed the 'Royal Art School'. Although initially the structure and teaching remains the same, the status of academy is already lost, albeit in name only. The transfer of the former imperial city to the Kingdom of Bavaria at the beginning of the 19th century enhances trade and commerce, but not the artistic world. Both king and government adhere to the principle of 'Nuremberg to industry – Munich to art', demoting the Nuremberg academy in 1883 to the status of 'arts & crafts school'. Teaching now focuses solely on the needs of the artisan crafts.



State school of applied art

Since its gradual demotion in the early 19th century the school has endeavoured to have its status of academy restored. In 1928 the institution is renamed the 'state school of applied art', however this is not accompanied by a change of status.  In Nuremberg applied art continues to be taught, but not fine art. The school has been housed in a spacious new building in Flaschenhofstrasse since 1897.



Designation as academy

A decree of the Reich Ministry of Science, Education and Culture dated 16 April 1940 raises the status of the state school of applied art to the 'Academy of Fine Arts in the City of the Rallies Nuremberg'. The elevation in rank is the result of efforts on the part of Nuremberg mayor Willy Liebel. He regards the return of the art school to the foremost ranks of the German academies to be a further piece in perfecting his vision of Nuremberg, defined by the myths of old Nuremberg, Dürer and Sachs, romantic half-timbering and crown glass windows. The 'most German of all German cities', as Liebel likes to refer to the city, soon becomes the cult centre of the Nazis due to the annual orchestration of the rallies. A first-rate art academy must not be missing from the picture.



Move to Ellingen

The rank of academy changes little in terms of studies. Due to limitations imposed by the state of war no fundamental changes are possible. However some of the teaching staff are dismissed from the applied arts department. Their classes are closed to the benefit of new fine art subjects. The air raid on Nuremberg of 10/11 August 1943 leaves the academy building badly damaged. Teaching can no longer be continued. Temporary quarters are soon found in the former castle of the Teutonic Knights in Ellingen, around fifty kilometres from Nuremberg. Teaching is characterised by administrative deficits and improvisional talent until the end of the war.



Return to Nuremberg

The art academy resumes teaching in Ellingen in May 1946. The return to Nuremberg is delayed for some time. A new building by Sep Ruf in Bingstrasse, close to Nuremberg Zoo, is completed in 1956. In the preceding years the academy has gradually taken up residence in the pavilions.


1985 to 2013

Lauf branch

Art education degrees have been offered in Nuremberg since 1973. In 1985 the art education department moves to the Wenzel castle in Lauf an der Pegnitz as the teacher trainee branch of the academy. In 2010 the Bavarian Landtag approves the extension of the Nuremberg building. The academy leaves the castle to start the summer semester 2013 in the new extension by Berlin architect's office Hascher Jehle Architektur.



350 Years Academy

In 2012 the academy, which today regards itself as Nuremberg's creative laboratory with an open research remit, celebrates the 350th anniversary of its foundation. The academy's creative activities, past and present, are presented with exhibitions in Nuremberg's museums, in the Neues Museum and Auf AEG. International academics, artists and art experts gather for symposia and festivals, for the inauguration of the new building and the traditional annual exhibition. At the 2012 'Blaue Nacht' students present outstanding works in Nuremberg's old city. A major commemorative publication by the Verlag für moderne Kunst accompanies the multifaceted anniversary programme.


Inauguration and use of the extension

The inaugural ceremony for the extension of the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg by Hascher Jehle Architektur was held on 25 April 2013. Since the beginning of the 2013 summer semester all students can now be taught together on one campus.


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Academy of Fine Arts Nuremberg

Bingstr. 60, 90480 Nürnberg

Phone: +49 911 9404 0

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Opening Hours:

lecture period: Monday till Friday, 7.30 a.m.-7 p.m. / Saturday  9 a.m.-1 p.m.

lecture break: Monday till Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. / Friday, 8 a.m.- 2.30 p.m.


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Monday till Thursday, 8-12 a.m. and 1-5 p.m. / Friday, 8-12 a.m. and 1-2.30 p.m.


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lecture period/ lecture break:
Monday till Thursday: 9–12 a.m. and 1–4 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m.– 2 p.m.
closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays.
Please note that the opening hours may change at short notice. Current changes will be announced in time by e-mail, on the homepage and at the library entrance.


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