Taught according to established rules in official art schools or academies, which began to proliferate from the early 18th century in Europe.
London’s Royal Academy and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris offered structured curriculums focused on history painting, portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and genre in that order of importance. Instruction progressed from drawing from classical statues or plaster casts to modeling from nudes to applying paint to original work.
Because the 19th-century academies in Europe and America tended to be conservative and dominated by males, the term Academic Art has come to mean that which is traditional and which is the opposite of innovative or creative.
In the 20th century with the advent of abstraction, the term Academic Art has negative connotations suggesting that a work is long on knowledge and technical expertise and lacking in emotional inspiration.