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OF THE MEDICEAN ACADEMY OF OCCULT ART

GENERAL HISTORICAL SUMMARY


The Medicean Academy of Occult Art was officially established July 16, 14841. This was possible thanks to a papal bull by pope Sixtus IV, which gave to the lord of Florence Lorenzo de’ Medici the permission to “[…] found an institute that deals with training the most talented young artists in Italy, and making their work enjoyable and usable for all able men who are aware of occult matters.” The institute was born as a school for training artists, but in the hands of the de' Medici family it also became a formidable vector of diplomatic promotion for the Florentine state.
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The palatine electress, Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici

The Academy remained property of the de' Medici family (excluding the republican period between the death of Lorenzo and the rise of Alessandro de' Medici known as "Il Moro", “The Moor”2) following its fate and fortunes. Some perils threatened its existence, such as the attempt of the Grand Duke Cosimo III to sell it to the King of France Louis XIV. This was thought in order to be able to meet the expenses of his daughter's dowry. She, named Anna Maria Luisa, will be the last representative of the family to hold absolute power over the Academy. Through the so-called "Family Pact", she favored its independence from the princes of Austria-Lorraine, making it impossible:

[…] "to take out of the capital and the state of the Grand Duchy, galleries, pictures, statues, libraries, jewels and other precious things, from the succession of the Most Serene Grand Duke, so that they would remain for the ornament of the state, for the benefit of the public and to attract the curiosity of foreigners. "

Since then the Academy has slightly changed its face: no longer at the service of the Medici princes, it started an activity that we could define as a museum and the recovery of past art, according to the principles of the Enlightenment. This also started a wide diffusion of the Academy, not only in other non-catholic European countries but also in the rest of the world, reaching the continents of Asia and America.

With the birth of the Italian state under Savoy leadership the Academy, which until then had shown mild support to the Risorgimento cause, proposed itself as a reference institution in dealing with the occult for the new italian state with its capital now located in Florence. The Academy provided support to the activity of the Royal Institute for the Unification of Italy; however, with the conquest of Rome in 1871 and the formation of the Royal Institute of Italian Anomalies (RIDIA in italian), the priorities of the crown no longer coincided with those of the Academy. Despite this brief moment of crisis, the Academy did not end up being absorbed by the Royal Institute. This was possible thanks to the donations made by the European aristocracy and the rich American bourgeoisie. Nonetheless, the Belle Epoque years were certainly among the most prolific and fruitful in the history of the Academy, despite the appearance of new enemies over the horizon.

The dull situation imposed on Europe during the Great War and its consequences led the European branches to a contraction of their strength and capacity of action. Conversely the branches in the Americas enjoyed a great deal of success, albeit within the limits imposed by the circumstances. During the Second World War the Academy managed to save itself from the fury of the conflict, even if many structures were looted by the german occult units. Nevertheless, thanks to good relations with both the SCP Foundation and the Global Occult Coalition (GOC), the Academy was able to recover most of the stolen works.

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INTERNAL ORGANIZATION

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The Tutor of Florence, Amedeo Baldini (During the '40-'50 of XX century)


Due to the extinction of the Medici grand-ducal line in 1743, the need to reorganize some positions within the Academy became evident: the Academy went from a subordinate institute meshed within the mechanisms of the old Tuscan state to a free and private institution. At the top needed to be placed a figure of prestige. The possibility for the Tutor of Florence, the most important among all the Tutors to become head of the organization, was stopped by the direct intervention of Anna Maria Luisa. In her will she decided that the person to inherit the position of supreme head was going to be the representative in charge of looking after the relations between the institute and the grand dukes, formerly known as "Curator hereditatis3 ". The new invested role with new powers was consequently renamed "Curator Academiae". Other positions that emerged did not change much compared to those of the past. In order, these are:
  • Curator: Head of the organization in charge of managing the general finances of the institution and relations with the outside world. Despite this last assignment, he never reveals himself during official events, neither within the Academy nor with representatives of other groups. The office is elective, but neither the duration of the mandate nor the modalities with which it is granted are known. It is assumed that it's elected through an internal vote by all the Tutors of the Academy.
  • Tutors: Representatives of each branch, the Tutors manage the internal activities of each venue and also partly coordinate relations with the outside world when allowed. The office is elective and has variable duration. Always chosen by co-optation from a group of names that have distinguished themselves within the Academy for merits and contributions offered to the world of art.
  • Supervisors: Supervisors are generally experts in a specific area of competence, and hold some decisional powers over Assistants work. They maintain a certain transversality, and are not to be considered as mere bureaucratic executors of the will of the Tutors, but as deserving and honorable members worthy of being heard for their opinion.
  • Assistants: All the members of the organization, whether involved into restorations or conservation or relations with the public are called Assistants, and are the beating heart of the Academy and its activities.

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