The School of Fine Arts at Nanjing Normal University enjoys a history of 110 years. It can be traced back to the Drawing and Handwork Department of Sanjiang Normal School which was founded by Li Ruiqing in the later Qing dynasty, which was home to the first modern establishment of higher education in Fine Arts in China's educational history. In 1928, the Department developed into the Department of Fine Arts Education of National Central University (later renamed as the Fine Arts Department). Many famous artists, such as Lv Fengzi and Li Yishi, had been in charge of the department. Xu Beihong was appointed Professor in 1928, and took the position as Dean of the Department in 1935. Xu Beihong advocated the educational philosophy of realistic arts, and encouraged inclusiveness and diversity in education by inviting a galaxy of renowned painting artists to teach at the Department, including Gao Jianfu, Zhang Daqian, Chen Zhifo, Yan Wenliang, Pang Xunqin, Lv Sibai, Wu Zuoren, Fu Baoshi, Huang Junbi, Huang Xianzhi, Zhang Shuqi, and Qin Xuanfu. The Department has cultivated a large number of outstanding artists and excellent fine arts teachers. During the evolution of the Department, Xu Beihong’s fine arts education system was developed, which represents the mainstream of the Chinese modern fine arts education, and dominants the innovation and development direction of Chinese modern fine arts. After the founding of People’s Republic of China in 1949, the former Fine Arts Department of National Central University was renamed as the Fine Arts Department of Nanjing University, the Fine Arts Department of Nanjing Normal University, and most recently, in 1999, as the School of Fine Arts of Nanjing Normal University.
At present, the School has a team of competent arts and academic research and teaching personnel, with 20 professors, 23 associate professors, 11 Doctoral supervisors, 39 Master’s degree advisors. The total number of faculty and staff is over 100. In recent years, several considerable achievements have been made in artistic creation, artistic theory research and development and application of artistic design.
The School of Fine Arts now has two Postdoctoral Stations for Fine Arts and Design, and is entitled to the conferment of doctoral degrees in Fine arts and Design as a Category I unit, Master’s degrees in Fine Arts and Design also as a Category I unit. The School has a complete disciplinary system and educational system that covered the whole process from undergraduate to Master’s degree, Doctoral degree and Post-doc stations. The School is one of the first Comprehensive Reform Pilot Unit of Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in China. It has 1 national-level Talent and Teacher Training Base, 1 Laboratory with Joint Support from the Central and Local Government, 2 provincial Key Laboratories, 1 provincial Science Education R&D base, and 1 provincial Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Base. The Fine Arts Program is Jiangsu Province Priority Discipline and Key Discipline. It’s Animation Program has been recognized as National Specialty Program and Provincial Key Program. The School is honored as "China Excellent Undergraduate Program in Cultivating Animation and Gaming Professionals”. The School has three teaching buildings, 1 gallery, and laboratories covering a total area of 3,500 square meters, with teaching and laboratory equipment and assets worth RMB 7.94 million. It has a collection of over 660,000 books and reference materials and more than 230 titles of periodicals in Chinese and foreign languages, providing a positive environment for education, creation and research. In recent years, the School College actively promotes international cooperation, and has invited well-known foreign artists and scholars to teach in the School. It also organizes teachers and students to travel abroad for exchange, investigation, study and research purposes. By means of scholarly visits, learning in residence, and exchange of teachers, the School has developed educational cooperation relationships with German Institute of Design in Offenbach, Canadian Sheridan College of Animation, University of Westminster in the U.K., University for the Creative Arts, University of the Arts in London, Auburn University in the U.S. It also established Graduate Students’ Stations at Russia’s Amur State University and France’s Center for the Arts in Paris to recruit undergraduate and graduate students from China and the rest of the world.
The School of Fine Arts at Nanjing Normal University now has 9 departments: Department of Fine Arts, Department of Painting, Department of Photography, Department of Chinese Painting, Department of Visual Communication Design, Department of Environmental Design, Department of Product Design, Department of Fashion Design, and Department of Animation. There are 15 programs: Oil Painting, Watercolor And Gouache, Chinese Painting, Calligraphy, Sculpture, Art Education, Art History, Photography, Visual Communication Design, Environmental Art, Exhibition Design, Paint Lacquer Painting, Ceramics Design, Costume Design And Performance, and Animation. There are three research institutions: Research Institution of Fine Arts Education, Xu Beihong Research Institution, Research Institution of Dunhuang Studies. The School is home to two international journals: History of Fine Arts and Concepts and Dunhuang Studies. At present, the school has over 1,100 undergraduates, over 500 Master’s degree and Ph.D. candidates, as well as international students from ROK, France, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and other countries.