Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts

Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts

Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 1935 (photo Léon van Dievoet)

The Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts (ARBA) is an art school in Brussels, Belgium, founded in 1711.

The faculty and alumni of ARBA include some of the most famous names in Belgian painting, sculpture, and architecture: James Ensor, René Magritte, and Paul Delvaux. Painter Vincent van Gogh studied here, briefly, beginning in late 1880, to improve his grasp of anatomy, composition, and perspective. Peyo, creator of The Smurfs, also trained here.

Originally housed in a single room in the city hall, in 1876 the school moved to a former convent and orphanage in the Rue du Midi, rehabilitated by the city architect Pierre-Victor Jamaer and where the school still operates.

The most notable directors of the school have included:

The school is sometimes confused with The Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium, a separate institution, and the French Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris, part of the Institut de France.


  • ARBA online history (in French)