In the late 16th Century the guilds came under fire because of the way they operated which combined with the chance in people’s perception of the role of the artist resulted in the rise of the academy and the slow decline of the guild. The academies were far more liberal than the guilds and catered to the newly accepted concept of the creation of art as an academic pursuit as opposed to a mere trade. It wasn’t until the 18th century, however, that the academy became the dominant force in the education of artists.
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.