The Faculty of Fine Arts traces its origins back to the Free School of Design, which was created in Barcelona on 23 January 1775 with financial support from the Junta Particular de Comerç. Established in response to the demands of industry at the time, the main priority was drawing.

In 1849, it became the Provincial School of Fine Arts. In addition to applied disciplines for the various trades, the so-called noble arts of painting, sculpture and architecture started to be taught. Nearly a century later, under the Decree of 30 June 1940, the area of Fine Arts was separated from the applied disciplines, paving the way for the Escola Superior de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi, which eventually became the current Faculty of Fine Arts in 1978.

Over the years, many students have passed through our classrooms. Some have become prominent figures in the arts, such as Damià Campeny, Marià Fortuny, Pau Gargallo, Josep Llimona, Joan Miró, Isidre Nonell, Pablo Picasso and Modest Urgell.

From the time of its founding to the present day, the former Free School of Design has continued to adapt to the changing needs and requirements of its environment, while constantly holding its own and striving to achieve the diverse aims for which it was created. Not only has it been a place where tradecrafts can be learnt, but it has also served as an open forum in which students can learn to think and act as artists.

Important dates

The disciplines of Fine Arts have been linked in various ways and at different times to the University of Barcelona. However, their history dates back to the late thirteenth century. While Barcelona was already home to a School of Arts and an Estudi General at that time, the date generally associated with the earliest university studies in Catalonia is 1 September 1300, when King Jaume II founded an institution of higher learning in Lleida, under papal bull from Boniface VII. From that point, a number of dates are important:

1401. King Martin the Humane creates a School of Arts and Medicine in Barcelona.

1450. Alfonso the Magnanimous founds an Estudi General in Barcelona with chairs in Theology, Canon and Civil Law, Philosophy and Medicine.

1536. Barcelona’s municipal government, the Council of One Hundred, cedes land for the construction of a new building for the University of Barcelona.

1539. The University initially includes only Grammar and the Arts.

1596. The University’s status as an Estudi General is confirmed, including all faculties and studies in Grammar, Rhetoric, the Arts, Philosophy, Theology, Medicine, Civil Law and Canon Law.

1714. The University of Barcelona is closed by the Spanish crown and studies in Philosophy, Canons and Laws are transferred to Cervera with the aim of establishing a single university in Catalonia. Philip V pronounces the Royal Decree that founds the University of Cervera in retribution for the support given by the Catalan people of Barcelona to Archduke Charles of Austria during the War of the Spanish Succession.

1755. The School of Noble Arts is created in Barcelona with the backing of the Junta Particular de Comerç, and Drawing is added four years later, in 1759.

1837. The decision is taken to move the University of Cervera provisionally back to Barcelona, under the name Literary University.

1842. Definitive approval is given to transfer university studies back to Barcelona.

1857. The Moyano Law sets the University of Barcelona at an equal level with all other Spanish universities. 

1954. Under the Franco dictatorship, new faculties emerge with the capacity to grant doctorates. Construction begins on the university campus in the Diagonal. 

1978. The advanced disciplines of Fine Arts become a Faculty of the University.