The Russian Academy of Arts was founded in 1757 by Ivan Shuvalov. He was a rumored lover of the unmarried Empress Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great, and later became the Russian Minister of Education. After this building along Academy Quay was finished in 1789, the instructors taught Neoclassical painting techniques to students. It morphed into different art academies until 1991 when it became the Saint Petersburg Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. In the center of the photo is a pair of 3,500 year old Egyptian sphinxes. They originally belonged to Pharaoh Amenhotep III and were brought to Saint Petersburg in 1832.